Forest Service announces new research station director

U.S. Forest Service Chief Victoria Christiansen recently announced Richard Barhydt as the new station director for California and Hawaii at the Pacific Southwest Research Station. As the new director, Barhydt will be responsible for integrating cutting edge science to deliver new knowledge and capabilities to address critical issues facing those who use and benefit from our nation’s forests.

Prior to joining the Forest Service, Barhydt was the deputy director for the Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Program for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. During his time at NASA, he led the development of early-stage technologies and physics-based tools to support the design of new aircraft.

“We look forward to having Richard join the agency,” said Christiansen. “He brings 15 years of experience leading large research projects and programs across a range of technical disciplines and building partnerships to maintain relevance and deliver research capabilities.”

“I’m excited to join the Forest Service and the Pacific Southwest Research Station,” said Barhydt. “I look forward to PSW continuing to work with its partners in delivering scientific breakthroughs that benefit our nation’s forests.”

In previous positions, Barhydt served as the deputy chief for the Entry Systems and Technology Division at NASA Ames Research Center. His research and development experience in that role supported of a wide range of NASA missions. He provided strategic planning, workforce guidance, personnel planning, and operations support for division staff and laboratory facilities.

Barhydt’s educational background includes a master of science degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering sciences from the University of Colorado.

Headquartered in Albany, California, the Pacific Southwest Research Station is part of the U.S. Forest Service’s Research and Development branch developing and communicating science needed to sustain forest ecosystems and other benefits to nature and society.

Pacific Southwest Research Station scientists are engaged in research across a network of 14 experimental watersheds, ranges and forests and eight research facilities in California, Hawaii and the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands. Research is organized into five research units: conservation of biodiversity, ecosystem function and health, fire and fuels, urban ecosystems and social dynamics, as well as Pacific Islands forestry.

For more information, visit