A civil engineer with over 34 years of experience, Chris Tschirhart manages multi-million dollar capital improvement projects for the Upper Brushy Creek Water Control and Improvement District in Round Rock, Texas. When he is not busy with professional endeavors, Chris Tschirhart enjoys spending time hiking and camping.
Though summer is the most popular time to take camping trips, cold-weather camping also can be enjoyable. During the winter months, a camper’s experience is shaped by nearly-empty campgrounds and a landscape that has been transformed by the colder weather.
Cold weather camping requires more preparation than a typical summer backpacking trip. In addition to planning for unpredictable weather conditions, winter-specific gear and supplies are usually necessary to ensure the trip is a success. Cold-weather campers should place a priority on obtaining warm clothing, a four-season tent, and a warm sleeping bag.
When camping during the winter, it is important to have weather-appropriate clothing. Experts recommend dressing in layers to help regulate the body’s heat. Campers should look for wicking fabrics, insulation pieces, and an outer layer that is both waterproof and windproof. Good-quality, waterproof boots are also important.
While it may be tempting to use an ordinary three-season tent on a cold-weather trip, experts recommend investing in a four-season tent. These tents are heavier and more resistant to snow and wind. They are also specifically designed to store items in a cold weather environment.
Finally, finding a good sleeping bag rated for at least 10 degrees less than the expected temperature is a must. Extra sleeping pads are also helpful to further separate the bag from the cold ground.
While additional items will be necessary on a cold-weather camping trip, these basic supplies will help the experience to be memorable for all the right reasons.
In August of 2015, Chris Tschirhart assumed responsibilities as project manager for the Upper Brushy Creek Water Control and Improvement District, located in Williamson County, Texas. When not busy with his duties there, Chris Tschirhart loves to hike and over the years has trekked through several National Parks, including Lassen Volcanic National Park in northeastern California.
Among the country’s oldest national parks, Lassen Volcanic National Park celebrated its 100-year anniversary in August of 2016. The park, which features mud pots, boiling pools, and volcanic-gas vents, offers visitors an opportunity to explore its unique geology during the winter and early spring.
Every Saturday and Sunday from January 7, 2017, through April 2, 2017, visitors can accompany a park ranger for a 1.5- to 2-hour excursion. Route and distance vary depending on the weather conditions and the size of the group, which is limited to the first 40 people to secure a ticket inside the park’s visitor center. Visitors are encouraged to wear boots, dress warm, and bring a bottle of water. The park provides snowshoes, although $1 donations are encouraged.
Chris Tschirhart consulted as a senior civil engineer with the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA). At this temporary full-time assignment, Chris Tschirhart helped the LCRA fulfill its mission in providing water stewardship, energy, and community services for Texans.
The majority of the lower Colorado River basin is located in Flash Flood Alley. Even with dry, hot summers in Texas, this area is known for heavy flooding and rains. To resolve this, the LCRA operates six different dams: Buchanan, Inks, Wirtz, Starke, Mansfield, and Tom Miller. These dams create the Highland Lakes (Buchanan, Inks, Lyndon B. Johnson, Buchanan, Travis, and Austin) and provide one million Central Texans with a steady supply of water.
The LCRA River Operations Center also forecasts floods and manages floodwaters. LCRA collaborates with cities and counties, as well as state and federal agencies; these partnerships help to reduce the risks of flood damage.
Thanks to reservoirs, the area is now prepared for floods or droughts. The lakes store approximately 655 billion gallons of water for the local residents. Now homeowners won’t run out of water, despite any severe droughts during Texas summers.
Based in Round Rock, Texas, Chris Tschirhart oversees numerous dam rehabilitation initiatives in his role as the project engineer with the Upper Brushy Creek Water Control and Improvement District. Outside of his professional endeavors, Chris Tschirhart has trained in various martial arts, including the healing practices of Seifukujitsu.
Sometimes translated as “restoration therapy,” Seifukujitsu has been a recognized form of healing for more than a millennium. Though many know it as a Japanese medicinal practice, it actually originated among Buddhist monks in China. As it spread across Asia, Seifukujitsu gained prominence among numerous groups, including martial arts masters who trained in this art of healing so they could provide efficient care to those who sustained injuries. It became particularly popular among Samurai masters, who further honed its healing practices and techniques.
Many still practice Seifukujitsu today, utilizing its techniques as a non-invasive means of treating such ailments as migraines, paralysis, and muscle injuries. Overall, practitioners facilitate healing by stimulating the injured soft tissues and equalizing the body’s Ki energy. Though it is similar to a massage, Seifukujitsu provides total body rehabilitation.
Chris Tschirhart has more than three decades of experience as a civil engineer and project manager working with numerous entities across Texas, Nevada, and Oregon. Since 2015, Chris Tschirhart has served as the project engineer with the Upper Brushy Creek Water Control and Improvement District (WCID), where he has managed two dam modernization efforts, planning and design of two new dams, and rehabilitation projects.
Upper Brushy Creek WCID maintains 23 high-hazard dams in Williamson County, Texas.
Most recently, the District began modernization efforts for Dam No. 7 and its auxiliary spillway. At a cost of $17.8 million, Upper Brushy Creek WCID aims to create an entirely new spillway with an a reinforced concrete labyrinth weir spanning 330 feet. This new design will not only increase the capacity of the spillway to meet current standards, but it will also include a steeped spillway chute, stilling basin, aesthetic enhancements, and landscape features. In addition, the District will relocate a 15” PVC wastewater line using trenchless technology, and replace about 1,700 linear feet of Brushy Creek Regional Trail across the upstream slope of the dam.
A senior project manager, Chris Tschirhart oversees water resources and transportation assignments. Chris Tschirhart, who holds project management professional certification, possesses experience managing multimillion-dollar developments across Central Texas.
A well-respected credential, project management professional (PMP) certification comes with the following benefits.
1. PMP-certified individuals possess formal training in communication that allows them to articulate specific details about a project clearly and concisely. They use terminology that is standardized across the field of project management, which helps clients and vendors grasp information and concepts easily.
2. The credential enhances the holder’s ability in the workforce, because it demonstrates experience and knowledge. In a competitive environment, a PMP credential can determine whether or not a candidate is considered for a project.
3. With additional expertise comes higher pay. In 2011, a survey of 30,000 project managers showed an average salary increase of nearly $14,000 for those with PMP certification.
4. A PMP designation requires continuing education to maintain. This means PMPs are constantly aware of the latest industry news and developments.
Chris Tschirhart currently serves as senior project manager with Baker-Aicklen & Associates in Round Rock, Texas. In addition to his master of business administration and bachelor of science in civil engineering degrees, Chris Tschirhart holds a Certified Floodplain Manager certification with the Texas Floodplain Management Association.
The Texas Floodplain Management Association (TFMA), in connection with the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM), is a provider of the certified floodplain manager (CFM) designation. In order to be eligible for CFM designation, an individual must be a TFMA member in good standing with the organization. The CFM Certification Charter maintains additional professional requirements and credential standards for potential CFMs.
The TFMA CFM designation, a nationally accredited program, serves the country’s floodplain managers in areas of professional development and critical continuing education opportunities. The United States lacks an undergraduate degree in floodplain management, making the CFM designation an invaluable service to managers seeking to mitigate the harmful damage cycle that continues to drain America’s financial and natural resources.