Raymond Lee Nace (1907-1987) studied geology at the University of Wyoming, graduating with his M.A. in 1936. He joined the USGS in 1941, where he returned after being called into military service from 1942-45. For the next 11 years Nace was based in Idaho, where his work on the Snake River Plain convinced him that far more effort needed to be put into hydrological research. After being promoted to Assistant Chief Hydrologist in 1956, he worked closely with Luna Leopold to expand and develop the Water Resources Division of the USGS.
Nace played a vital role in founding the International Hydrological Decade (IHD), which ran from 1965-74. He served as the chairman for the United States Committee and developed the scientific framework for the program. Motivated by the global approach of the IHD, Nace worked to develop a “world water budget:” an estimate of the total amount of water existing as solid, liquid, or vapor around the globe. He translated key hydrological texts from Russian and French to English, and represented UNESCO at conferences in India, the Soviet Union, Chile, and Iran. Nace died in 1987, having completed one-third of a 25-book series titled The Physical Basis of Hydrology. The eight completed works were published by UNESCO.