Concurrent Session 1

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10:45 – 12:00 pm
Salon A Salon B Windsor Ballroom
Session Title Advancing Ecological Engineering Technology Treatment Wetlands Ecological Engineering in Food Production
Moderator W. Cully Hession Tiffany Messer Dan Hitchcock
10:45 am – 11:00 am (1) Robert Dunn – Lidar and Geomorphic Change Detection: Useful Tools for River Ecosystem Assessment and Restoration Monitoring (6) Scott Knight – Treatment Wetlands in Practice and Lessons Learned (11) Stew Diemont – Wine in the Trees: Learning Adaptation to Climate Change from Traditional Viticulture Agroforestry in Portugal
11:00 am – 11:15 am (2) W. Cully Hession – Unlocking New Insights into Riverscapes with Drone-Based Laser Scanners (7) Michael Burchell – Breathing New Life into a 25 Year Old Wastewater Treatment Wetland (12) Timothy Ormond – Have Your Creek and Eat It Too: Productive Food Forest Systems for Riparian Buffers
11:15 am – 11:30 am (3) Brett Connell – High Definition Stream Surveys: A Better Way to Prioritize Your Streambank Restoration Projects (8) David Austin – Nitrate Design Challenge: Can Surface Flow Wetlands Reduce Nitrate in Cold Water by Induced Electrical Currents? (13) William Mitsch – Solving the Grand Challenges of Harmful Algal Blooms with Wetlaculture
11:30 am – 11:45 am (4) Eban Bean – GatorByte: An Open Source Platform for Low-Cost, Real-Time Water Resource Monitoring (9) Alex Horne – Oxygenation: Yes or No? Anoxia is Vital for Wetlands Pollution Treatment But Deadly for Lakes, Rivers, and Ocean Cleanups (14) Yadir Simón Rodríguez Núñez – Evaluation of a Biological Filter and a Hydroponic System of Lettuce for the Treatment of Wastewater from an Aquaculture Re-circulation System for the Production of Tilapia CANCELLED
11:45 am – 12:00 pm (5) Jochen Hack – A New Methodology to Assess the Ecosystem Service Potential of Urban Rivers in Developing Countries (10) Mark Brown – A Floating Island Treatment System for Removal of Phosphorus from Surface Waters (15) Ronald  Aguilar – Protecting the Water Resource in Costa Rica CANCELLED

(1) Lidar and Geomorphic Change Detection: Useful Tools for River Ecosystem Assessment and Restoration Monitoring

Presenter: Robert Dunn, Geosyntec Consultants, Inc.,

Co-Authors: David Vance, Geosyntec Consultants, Inc,

Abstract: Traditional stream survey methods have long been the preferred method for river ecosystem assessment and monitoring, however, topographic surveys, utilizing newer methods (UAVs, ground-based Lidar, survey-grade RTK GPS, etc) are increasingly becoming more common in river ecosystem assessment and restoration monitoring. UAVs equipped with high-resolution Lidar scanners offer a suite of benefits for river restoration practitioners, including increased spatial coverage and data density, allowing practitioners to repeatedly collect topographic and geomorphic data beyond the traditional reach-scale, with less time than traditional methods. Further, the repeated acquisition of high-resolution topographic surveys over a river ecosystem allows assessment and/or monitoring of geomorphic change to be expanded spatially beyond reach-scale cross-sections and longitudinal profiles.

Employment of Geomorphic Change Detection (GCD) methods to repeat high-resolution topographic surveys of a river system allow practitioners to better understand the geomorphic rate and magnitude of change and how this relates to stream-system processes influencing form and function of a river system, especially in post-restoration scenarios. This presentation will highlight the use of UAV based Lidar in river assessment and monitoring. Additionally, the use of GCD software to generate spatially distributed maps of elevation, volume, and areal change will be presented, which portray a detailed depiction of the magnitude and extents of change at the reach and larger spatial scales.

Biography: Mr. Dunn is a water resource scientist and aquatic ecologist with Geosyntec Consultants out of Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Georgia College & State University with a Master’s and Bachelors in Biology and has nearly 5 years of natural resource and ecological consulting experience in streams, rivers, lakes, and coastal ecosystems. Mr. Dunn has applied principles of biology ecology, and natural resource management to a range of projects but his passion lies in ecosystem assessment and restoration, particularly fluvial ecosystems, as he as certifications in geomorphic assessment, characterization, and monitoring (Rosgen Levels 1, II, and III). His Experience in high resolution aerial data, including LiDAR and photogrammetry includes utilizing aerial data to evaluate pipeline stream crossing hazards to develop design recommendations to mitigate hydrotechnical/fluvial hazards, performing geomorphic change detection to assess the geomorphological impacts to streams resulting from proposed operational changes at water diversion facilities, and using aerial data for river assessment and monitoring.

(2) Unlocking New Insights into Riverscapes with Drone-Based Laser Scanners

Presenter: W. Cully Hession, Virginia Tech,

Co-Authors: Jon Czuba, Virginia Tech,; Bryan Brown, Virginia Tech,; Erin Hotchkiss, Virginia Tech,; Nicholas Polys, Virginia Tech,; Peter Sforza, Virginia Tech,; Jonathan Resop, University of Maryland,

Abstract: Measurement of physical characteristics across space and time is essential for research and management of aquatic ecosystems. Physical parameters help us quantify and understand channel morphology, aquatic and riparian habitat, biological communities, ecosystem processes, and chemical fluxes, particularly as they relate to potential impacts of environmental change. Accurate measures of physical parameters are key for understanding the links between environmental conditions, aquatic biological diversity, and ecosystem function. This knowledge is particularly important in stream and river systems because biotic indices are used as measures for water quality and to assess the effects of pollution and land-use change. The overall goal of our ongoing research is to develop a methodological framework for collecting and analyzing cm-scale drone-based laser scanner (DLS) or lidar data, processing that data into spatially continuous maps of topography and vegetation that can be integrated with hydrodynamic models, water quality, and biological data to advance our understanding of riverscapes. The resulting high spatial resolution (cm scale) maps of topography and vegetation along with high temporal resolution (30 min) stream flow and water quality data will allow us to simulate how water moves through riverscapes, as well as quantify stream surface area and stream-floodplain connectivity dynamics at scales rarely available for freshwater research. These high-resolution data of the physical riverscape are well suited for integrating with high-temporal resolution sensor data (e.g., temperature, conductivity, turbidity, oxygen, CO2) that is necessary for understanding ecosystem processes. These efforts will reveal new insights into riverine ecosystem functioning. Our methods and results will be embedded into the Fusality framework, an online informatics service that uses a unified 3D spatio-temporal information model to ingest, represent, fuse, and portray a range of data.

Biography: Dr. W. Cully Hession is a professor in Biological Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech. Dr. Hession has worked as an engineer for the State of Virginia and the USDA-Agricultural Research Service, as a professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Vermont, and research leader at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. His research lab focuses on stream channel structure and sediment dynamics, influence of human activities on streams, techniques for measuring and improving in-stream habitat, and development of technologies and strategies for successful stream restoration. Recently, we have expanded into the following areas of research: floodplain dynamics; groundwater/surface water dynamics; UAVs for stream and floodplain mapping, visualization techniques for watersheds & monitoring data; and antibiotic resistant gene & bacteria transport in the environment. He is a Professional Engineering in Virginia and a Certified Ecological Designer (AEES).

(3) High Definition Stream Surveys: A Better Way to Prioritize Your Streambank Restoration Projects

Presenter: Brett Connell, Trutta Environmental Solutions,

Abstract: The High Definition Stream Survey (HDSS) approach was created to gather continuous geo-referenced video and in-stream data in a single pass. This enables faster evaluation of a broad range of in-stream and streambank conditions.  The video and data are combined to create a virtual tour with four simultaneous views of a waterway (front, both banks, underwater).  If the focus is stream restoration prioritization then every meter of streambank can be rated pursuant to BEHI standards and tied to GPS points overlaid on a waterway map.   The resulting map highlights not only high priority restoration areas, but also areas that should be protected against future disturbance.  HDSS is also a better way to document baseline conditions, monitor restoration results, assess in-stream habitat, document geomorphic conditions, identify current and potential infrastructure impacts, and provide a powerful “virtual tour” experience for stakeholder groups.

The clear advantages of HDSS over traditional assessment methods was demonstrated when we surveyed 125 miles of the Duck River in eight days using a team of two.  The time saved enabled us to gather bathymetric measurements to update reservoir capacity and plan for future droughts.  By the end of the survey, we had continuous video and in-stream data for all 125 miles of river at approximately one meter resolution.  Traditional sample-based collection typically involves more people gathering limited data samples along a few very short sections of river at easy access points (typically bridge crossings and boat ramps), and extrapolating data in between.  Such surveys typically cover less than 5% of a waterway, which means important water resource decisions are made with incomplete data.  Fewer people, more coverage and less field time results in lower costs.

Biography: Mr. Connell specializes in the development and application of innovative technologies that help solve difficult water resource management problems. He earned his M.S. in Biosystems Engineering Technology from the University of  Tennessee, a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Toledo, and an Associates Degree in Fisheries Management and Aquaculture from Hocking College.

(4) GatorByte: An Open Source Platform for Low-Cost, Real-Time Water Resource Monitoring

Presenter: Eban Bean, University of Florida,

Co-Author: Piyush Agade, Program for Resource Efficient Communities, University of Florida,

Abstract: Urban water resources are increasingly becoming impaired across the United States due to urbanization, legacy stormwater infrastructure, and limited efficiency of current practices. The term ‘Urban Stream Syndrome’ was coined to reference the degraded condition of urban streams. Small and medium MS4 communities bear most of the burden of local governments to enact plans to restore these waters. However, competition for limited resources often constrain efforts to assess their water resources, let alone monitor them. Infrequent grab sampling provides a limited view of the overall water quality and flow dynamics. Off-the-shelf continuous monitoring systems are generally cost-prohibitive or limit spatial distribution of monitoring resources. Until recently, the cost of communications could also be limiting, but the convergence of 1) lower cost solar and power storage, 2) rise of IoT – particularly in the DIY community, 3) advancements in microcontrollers, and 4) availability of customized printed circuit boards has allowed for the reality of low cost, real-time water quality monitoring. The convergence of these developments offers the opportunity to lower the cost of real-time water resource monitoring, and increase the spatial distribution to provide actionable information to these communities. GatorByte is a platform developed to provide the public with the technology and resources to collect actionable information on water resources. The hardware is built on the particle microcontroller and incorporates solar charging, Li-Po battery, cellular communications, SD card storage (backup), and small form factor, costing $1,000-$2,000 per unit. Sensors include temperature, conductivity, dissolved oxygen (DO), and pH, with optical DO, turbidity, NO3, and NH4 being incorporated soon. The second configuration adds a GPS receiver and a water-tight (IP-66) housing for collecting spatially distributed water quality data. Parts list and links, sensor performance and cost comparison, build instructions and videos, and cloud connected data visualization site are also in development.

Biography: Dr. Eban Bean is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist of Urban Water Resources Engineering at the University of Florida (Gainesville, FL) in the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department. He is also a faculty member in the Program for Resource Efficient Communities and the Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology. Dr. Bean has been working in water resources and water quality for the past 15 years, with a focus on design and evaluation of stormwater control measures (SCMs) for retention and pollutant removal. Prior to his current position, he was an Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering at East Carolina University (2012-2016; Greenville, NC) and a Senior Staff Engineer at Geosyntec Consultants (2010-2011; Kennessaw, GA). Dr. Bean received his Bachelors (2003) and Master’s (2005) degrees from North Carolina State University and received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida in Agricultural and Biological Engineering in 2010.

(5) A New Methodology to Assess the Ecosystem Service Potential of Urban Rivers in Developing Countries

Presenter: Jochen Hack, TU darmstadt,

Abstract: Natural rivers in urban areas bear significant potential to provide ecosystem services for surrounding inhabitants. However, surface sealing by houses and street networks, urban drainage, disposal of waste and wastewater resulting from advancing urbanization usually lead to deterioration of urban rivers and their riparian areas. This ultimately results in the loss of ecosystem service provision. This paper presents an innovative methodology for a rapid and low-cost assessment of the ecological status of urban rivers and riparian areas in developing countries under data scarcity conditions. The methodology uses a combination of low-cost field data and freely available high resolution satellite images to assess three ecological status categories: river hydromorphology, water quality and riparian land cover. The focus here is on the assessment of proxies for biophysical structures and processes representing ecological functioning that enable urban rivers and riparian areas to provide ecosystem services. These proxies represent a combination of remote sensing land cover- and field-based indicators. Finally, the three ecological status categories are combined to quantify the potential of 100 m river sections to provide regulating ecosystem service. The development and application of the methodology is demonstrated and visualized for each 100 m section of the Pochote River in the City of León, Nicaragua. This spatially distributed information of ecosystem service potential of individual sections of the urban river and riparian areas can serve as an important information for decision making considering the protection, future use and city development of these areas as well as the targeted and tailor-made development of nature-based solutions such as green infrastructure.

Biography: Professor of Ecological Engineering and Leader of the inter- and transdisciplinary Research Group “SEE-URBAN-WATER” at the Institute of Applied Geosciences of the Technical University of Darmstadt. He has several years of experience of cooperation and exchange in teaching and research with Latin American universities through teaching, supervision of master’s and doctoral students, excursions and coordination of different exchange programs. His research focuses on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), urban hydrology and green infrastructure solutions / sustainable urban drainage systems, socio-ecology of urban rivers, assessment of hydrological ecosystem services and development of compensation mechanisms. Geographically it deals mainly with Latin America, in Central America specifically.

(6) Treatment Wetlands in Practice and Lessons Learned

Presenter: Scott Knight, Wetland Solutions, Inc.,

Abstract: Constructed treatment wetlands represent one of the successes of ecological engineering and have been widely applied to address a range of water quality problems. Additionally, treatment wetlands and other forms of ecological engineering can have the benefit of offering excellent ancillary benefits to both the public and wildlife. This presentation will focus on the application of a 120-acre groundwater recharge wetland to remove nutrients (and particularly nitrogen) in a treated wastewater effluent in North-Central Florida. This project converted an existing effluent sprayfield for the purpose of providing enhanced water quality treatment in water recharged to the Floridan Aquifer that daylights in artesian spring flows. This presentation will discuss the development of this project from a concept through the design, modeling, and project assumptions. The presentation will then discuss the construction, post-construction treatment performance, wetland operations, and challenges that were realized during and after the project was implemented. The final focus of the presentation will be on lessons learned during this and similar projects which will be interspersed in an effort to encourage improved application of ecological engineering concepts in practice. Questions and discussion will be encouraged.

Biography: Scott is a practicing water resources engineer who has worked on a wide variety of projects during his 14-year career. This has included floodplain management, hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, water quality modeling, water rights and consumptive use modeling, treatment wetland design, biological monitoring, springs ecology and sampling, and water quality monitoring. Scott’s doctoral research focused on water use in the context of residential irrigation and improving the understanding of water use in the urban context. Scott currently works for Wetland Solutions, a small consulting firm that specializes in constructed treatment wetland design and environmental monitoring.

(7) Breathing New Life into a 25 Year Old Wastewater Treatment Wetland

Presenter: Michael Burchell, II, North Carolina State University,

Co-Author: Brock Kamrath, North Carolina State University; Jack Kurki-Fox, North Carolina State University

Abstract: Constructed wetlands are a great example of Ecological Engineering because they can provide a wide range of pollutant treatment even though limited amounts of fossil fuels are needed to build and operate these systems.  However, operators of these systems often view them as nearly maintenance free, which is not the case.  Lack of periodic maintenance can result in poor hydraulic performance that leads to reduced treatment efficiency.  Many of these systems were constructed during the late 1990s to treat various pollutants, but are often used in tertiary treatment of domestic wastewater, particularly in smaller towns.  A survey of existing systems in NC show many that do not have periodic maintenance and detrital buildup is a major problem.  The pollutant treatment efficiency and internal hydraulics of a 2 cell treatment wetland in north central NC has been recently studied.   This presentation will provide an overview of the signs and causes of a failing constructed wetland and the steps taken to return the wetland to its original treatment performance.

Biography: Michael R.  Burchell II, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor and Extension Leader in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at North Carolina State University.  Since 2003, he has been involved in research and outreach in the areas of wetland restoration, riparian buffers, constructed wetlands, innovative methods for stormwater treatment, and agricultural drainage water management.    One of his main program goals is to improve design and implementation techniques of ecological engineering projects to maximize ecosystem services, particularly water quality improvement.

(8) Nitrate Design Challenge: Can Surface Flow Wetlands Reduce Nitrate in Cold Water by Induced Electrical Currents?

Presenter: David Austin, Jacobs,

Abstract: Nitrate pollution of estuaries and coastal regions creates algae blooms and is the principle culprit in the formation of oceanic dead zones. Natural and engineering wetland systems have a mixed record of nitrate removal in the watershed. The problem is that heterotrophic denitrification, in which organic carbon donates an electron to reduce nitrate, is negligible in cold water.

Chemoautolithotrophic denitrification, in which hydrogen sulfide donates an electron to reduce nitrate, is relatively cold insensitive. Thiobacillus denitrifications, a model organism for chemoautolithotrophic denitrification, just needs electrons to reduce nitrate. The donor source is irrelevant. If not practical to provide electrons with hydrogen sulfide, why not provide them with an electrical current?

In benchtop experiments, low current densities of around 20 – 50 mW/m2 have substantially reduced nitrate concentrations in subsurface flow wetlands (SSF). These microbial electrical technologies (METlands) have shown promise at experimental scales. Evolving this technology to large scales requires adapting them to surface flow wetlands. Few SSF wetlands process more than 4,000 m3/d of wastewater and then only at great cost and continual risk of clogging. In contrast, many surface flow (SF) wetlands process 10 to 100 times that flow of wastewater or stormwater.

As there is negligible resistance to electrical currents in wetland soils, SF wetlands are potentially ideal reactors to induce electrical fields with arrays of anodes and cathodes. It may be possible to employ higher current densities than used in METlands provided the current source is non-homogeneous square waves as are employed used in human-safe electrical fish barriers.

The challenge in this presentation is to create the first surface flow METland. Although currently a hypothetical concept, a pilot scale system would be relatively simple to construct in non-conducting troughs. Concepts and encouragement in this endeavor are the goal of this presentation.

Biography: David Austin is the lead technologist for Natural Treatment Systems in Jacobs Engineering Group. He is an environmental P.E. (MN), Certified Senior Ecologist (Ecological Society of America), Certified Lake Manager (North American Lake Management Society), and a past President of the American Ecological Engineering Society. His projects concentrate on reservoir management, treatment wetlands, wastewater reuse, and mine water reclamation. Previously, he was a marine salvage and diving officer in the Navy. Degrees: Mathematics (BA, UM-Twin Cities), Water Resources Management (MS, UW-Madison), and Civil & Environmental Engineering (MS, UC-Davis).

(9) Oxygenation: Yes or No? Anoxia is Vital for Wetlands Pollution Treatment But Deadly for Lakes, Rivers, and Ocean Cleanups

Presenter: Alex Horne, University of California – Berkeley,

Abstract: The self-sustaining anoxia of leaf litter layer is vital for pollution removal in wetlands.  However, anoxia (dead zones) are undesirable for most oceans, lakes, reservoirs, stream and rivers, most of an estuary, and many smaller oceans.  The new anoxia is mostly due to increases algal growth and subsequent decomposition on the sediments using up more oxygen than is naturally available.  The scale of the needed restoration is enormous: there may be a million freshwater and over 500 ocean or estuarine dead zones created by human activities over the last 500 years.  We can reverse the anoxia by constructing nutrient removal wetlands on land, but, with a few exceptions, this challenge has not been widely taken up by Ecological Engineers.  A direct engineering solution is artificial replenishment of the oxygen demand using pure oxygen additions.  The process is simple and mostly fool-proof but has not been sustainable… until the advent of large, inexpensive ocean wind turbines.  Examples will be given for Direct Oxygenation of a large reservoir, the Savannah River Estuary, and proposed solutions to the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

Biography: Dr. Alex Horne was an Ecological Engineering professor at UC California, Berkeley for 32 years. His work has been on water pollution control on all 7 continents and most oceans. He first demonstrated reversal of eutrophication in a large reservoir by the addition of pure oxygen to the hypolimnion. He also designs wetlands to remove selected contaminants from whole rivers.  He has over 300 publications and the undergraduate textbook, Limnology.  Hobbies include his rock & roll band Mo’ Waters.

(10) A Floating Island Treatment System for Removal of Phosphorus from Surface Waters

Presenter: Mark Brown, Howard T Odum Center for Wetlands/University of Florida,

Co-Authors: Treavor Boyer, Arizona State University; R.J. Sindelar, University of Montana; Sam Arden, University of Florida; Amar Persaud, University of Florida; Sherry Brandt-Williams, St. Johns River Water Management District, Palatka, FL

Abstract: The goal of this project was to design, build and test a pilot-scale floating treatment system for Total Phosphorus (TP) removal from nutrient impaired lakes in Florida, USA. The treatment system consisted of biological and physical-chemical treatment modules. First, investigations of prospective biological and physical-chemical treatment processes in mesocosms and in bench-scale experiments were conducted. Thirteen mesocosms were constructed with a variety of substrates and combinations of macrophytes and tested for TP and PO4 removal efficiencies and areal removal rates.  Bench- scale jar and column tests of seven absorptive media, and three commercial resins were conducted to test absorptive capacity.  Once testing was complete, a floating island treatment system (FITS) was designed and deployed for 8 months in a lake in Central Florida,.

Removal efficiencies of the mesocosms systems averaged about 40-50%, providing an average uptake of 5.0 g P m-2 yr-1 across all mesocosms.  The best performing mesocosms were a submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) mesocosm and an algae scrubber (AGS) removing 20 and 50 mg P m-2 day-1 for an average removal of 5.5 g P m-2 yr-1 and 12.0 g P m-2 yr-1 for the SAV and AGS systems respectively.  Of the absorptive media, the best performance was alum residual, reducing PO4 concentrations by about 75% after 5 minutes of contact time. Of the commercial resins tested, the PhosX resin was superior to the others tested, removing about 40% of P after 30 minutes and 60% after 60 minutes. Under baseline operation conditions during deployment, the FITS exhibited mean PO4 removal efficiencies of 53% and using the 50th and 90th percentile of PO4 removal during deployment, and the footprint of the FITS system, yielded efficiencies for the combined FITS system of 56% and 86%, respectively, and areal removal rates between 8.9 and 16.5 g P m-2 yr-1.

Biography: Dr. Mark Brown is Emeritus Professor of Environmental Engineering Sciences and Director of the Center for Environmental Policy at the University of Florida.  He is a systems ecologist, whose research focuses on systems ecology, emergy analysis, environmental policy, ecological engineering, and wetlands ecology.  Current and past research includes applied and theoretical approaches to understand the urban nexus, the interface of energy, environment, and economics.   He has served as consultant on development and sustainability issues to the USEPA, USAID, UNEP, and numerous Governments and private consulting firms worldwide.  In his career at the University of Florida, he has mentored 45 PhD students and 64 master’s degree students.

(11) Wine in the Trees: Learning Adaptation to Climate Change from Traditional Viticulture Agroforestry in Portugal

Presenter: (11) Stew Diemont, SUNY – College of Environmental Science and Forestry,

Abstract: The Greeks started it (2500 years ago). The Etruscans borrowed it (2000 years ago. The Romans transported it (1500 years ago). Traditional farmers in northern Portugal use it (today). The system: growing grapes up and between trees that border a diverse agroecosystem. The problem it addresses: climate change is leading to water and heat stress of vineyards throughout the world. These traditional Portuguese viticulture systems do not need irrigation, unlike the conventional row cropping near them. It is possible that trees supporting grape vines are hydraulically redistributing water from deep zones to relatively shallow grape roots. Measurements of soil moisture and temperature conducted last year indicate that soil near trees is wetter and cooler, supporting this hypothesis. I will describe these traditional viticulture systems and how they could contribute to climate change adaptation, interview and soil fieldwork conducted, next stages of work, and how traditional systems such as these advance ecological engineering.

Biography: Stew Diemont is a past-President of the American Ecological Engineering Society. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental and Forest Biology at the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He works often with indigenous and local people to better understand how traditional knowledge can be part of ecosystem design. With his students and the people of communities with whom he researches, he has studied soil, plants, fungi, insects, and birds, as well as talked much about traditional ecological knowledge and ecosystem design. He has worked with Mayan communities in Mexico, Belize and Guatemala; Zapotec in Mexico; Haudenosaunee of New York; and with traditional vineyard growers in Europe.  He is particularly interested now in how food can be a part of ecological engineering in cities and rural areas.

(12) Have Your Creek and Eat It Too: Productive Food Forest Systems for Riparian Buffers

Presenter: Timothy Ormond, Blue Earth Planning, Engineering & Design, PC,

Abstract: Permaculture generally refers to a design approach that takes a holistic system view, observes the interrelationships of different parts and mimics sustainable natural systems.  Whereas many sustainable design approaches often emphasize the mitigation of human impacts, permaculture emphasizes regenerative design and seeks ways to positively integrate humans within ecosystems.  At its best, permaculture design solves multiple interrelated problems systemically by mimicking biological patterns.  For instance, water quality degradation, topsoil loss, habitat destruction, carbon sequestration, and a vulnerable food supply may all be addressed with a single permaculture strategy for land management.

Food forests are a permaculture strategy for creating low-maintenance, sustainable local food systems that mimic woodland ecosystems while also producing yields directly useful to humans.  These yields are achieved by incorporating fruit and nut trees, berry shrubs, perennial vegetables, and other plants and fungi which can be used for food, medicine and other human needs. This approach to producing perennial food crops within a forest system has a long history in tropical regions with more recent applications adapted to temperate regions.

Riparian buffers for stream restoration may present a significant opportunity for a food forest strategy – one that provides the hydro-ecological function of a restored stream buffer, but goes beyond to provide additional ecosystem services, including food production. Because of the yields directly beneficial to property owners, food forest applications may also facilitate the acceptance, adoption and maintenance of stream buffers, particularly in urbanized areas.

This presentation will provide an overview of food forest systems and focus on their application within riparian buffers.  Key concepts of food forest systems including forest layers and plant guilds will be discussed, along with examples of polycultures and plant species with potential economic yields.  Regional applications of food forest systems within riparian corridors will also be presented along with recommendations for future research.

Biography: Tim Ormond, P.E. is an Asheville-based environmental and water resources engineer with over two decades of experience.  He specializes in hydrology and hydraulics, stormwater management, green infrastructure planning and design, and innovative research.  Tim holds a B.S. degree in civil and environmental engineering, an M.S. degree in civil and water resources engineering as well as a permaculture design certificate.  He is a licensed professional engineer in North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Massachusetts, and California.  He is a co-founder of Blue Earth Planning, Engineering & Design, PC, a consulting firm which focuses on sustainable and regenerative design that is mindful of the interconnections of the water cycle, ecosystems, and people.

(13) Solving the Grand Challenges of Harmful Algal Blooms with Wetlaculture

Presenter: William Mitsch, Everglades Wetland Research Park, Florida Gulf Coast University,

Co-Authors: Bing Bing Jiang, School of Geosciences, University of South Florida,; Sam Miller, Mendoza School of Business, University of Notre Dame,; Li Zhang, Everglades Wetland Research Park, FGCU, Naples,; Bhavik Bakshi, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, The Ohio State University,

Abstract: Humans have caused both landscape change and climate change, leading to ecological calamities around the world in freshwater and coastal waters. Harmful algal blooms (HABs), more common and wicked because of excessive and non-stop fertilization and runoff from farms and urban areas, are accelerated by increased water temperatures. We have also changed our landscapes by draining wetlands that could help with nutrient retention and carbon sequestration. The world has lost 87% of its wetlands, with half of that loss occurring in the 20th century alone. A nutrient recycling approach applicable to landscapes around the world called “wetlaculture” (wetlands + agriculture) could help solve downstream nutrient pollution problems while decreasing the amount of fertilizers added to landscapes. We have established field physical models, two in temperate Ohio and one in subtropical Florida, for estimating the amount of time needed for wetlands to accumulate nutrients before flipping the land to agriculture. In addition, our early business model suggests that farmers could make profits comparable to crop by receiving payment for ecosystem services (PES) coupled with public Environmental Impact Bonds sold to investors.

Biography: Dr. Mitsch is Endowed Chair and Director of the Everglades Wetland Research Park, Florida Gulf Coast University in Naples Florida. He has been a professor for 43 years at 4 universities, most at The Ohio State University. He has over 700 publications in wetlands/water quality, and ecological engineering including 5 editions of Wetlands. He received his Ph.D. in systems ecology at University of Florida and has advised, with thesis or dissertation, 79 graduate students. He was awarded the Stockholm Water Prize in 2004 and is currently Chair of the U.S. National Ramsar Committee.

(14) Evaluation of a Biological Filter and a Hydroponic System of Lettuce for the Treatment of Wastewater from an Aquaculture Re-circulation System for the Production of Tilapia – CANCELLED

Presenter: Yadir Simón Rodríguez Núñez, University of Costa Rica,

Co-Authors: Ronald Esteban Aguilar Álvarez, University of Costa Rica,

Abstract: Agro-industry consumes 70 % of the fresh water for food production. For example, 50 % of fresh water is changed daily in intensive production systems (100 tilapias/m3). Negatively, wastewater from this system is delivered into the environment without any treatment. Intended to protect the water resource, this project proposes the implementation of aquaponic recirculation systems (ARS). ARS combines fish and vegetable production while saving fresh water by the treatment and recirculation of the water in the production system. In this study, the ARS consists of a circular fish tank (52 Oreochromis niloticus in 1.49 m3), sump tank (1 m3), a water pump, a biological filter (BF), and a hydroponic system (52 lettuces evenly distributed in 4 -2 m length- PVC beds). The BF and the HS work in parallel treating the water from the fish tank. The aim of this project was to determine the treatment efficacy of the BF and HS working on parallel; it was speculated that the system only requires the HS, reducing costs as the BF is expensive. During nine weeks, fish and vegetable growth were measured. Water quality parameters (NO2-, NH3, pH, Temperature, etc) along the ARS were measured to determine treatment efficiency. Results indicated that the water in the fish tank was under needed conditions for fish production (0.04 mg/l of NO2-, 0.11 mg/l of NH3, pH 6.35, 22.22 °C, etc). Fish growth rate was 7.77 g/week. Lettuce growth rate was 1.61 cm/week. No significant differences were found between the BF and the HS; however, trends indicated that better treatment occurred at the HS. The ARS saved 94.3% of fresh water. There is a need of properly managing the water resource and this work promote this kind of smart-food production in rural Costa Rica.

Biography: Bachelor of agricultural engineering and biosystems at the University of Costa Rica. He is currently finishing his final graduation work to obtain a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering and biosystems at the same university.

(15) Protecting the Water Resource in Costa Rica – CANCELLED

Presenter: Ronald Aguilar, University of Costa Rica,

Co-Authors: Mercedes Azofeifa, University of Costa Rica,; Yadir Rodriguez, University of Costa Rica,; Johel Venegas, University of Costa Rica,; Carlos chaves, UNED,

Abstract: Given the effects of climate change, it is necessary to work on the protection of water resources to enable future generations to solve our planet’s grand challenges. The Department of Biosystems Engineering at the University of Costa Rica is promoting alternative systems for the adequate management of water. This work presents the approaches to assure 1) potabilization, 2) efficient use of water in food production, 3) wastewater treatment, and 4) landscaping restoration. Regarding potabilization, coverage in Costa Rica is greater than 90%; however, inhabitants in rural areas do not have access to drinking water. Therefore, we are working on the development of household scale water purification system that meets the standards of potable water. Regarding the efficient use of water in food production, aquaponics is being implemented as an intelligent system for water management. With low water consumption, families and communities in rural areas can sustainably produce fish and vegetable. Regarding the treatment of wastewater, Costa Rica presents serious problems of operation and maintenance of conventional treatment plants. Negatively, surface and subsurface water bodies are seriously impacted. Therefore, the implementation of artificial wetlands is promoted as alternative systems to complement current wastewater treatment plants. In addition, wetlands are promoted for individual systems in homes and communities in rural areas. Finally, regarding landscaping restoration, work is being done on the restoration of artificial lakes in the cities, which present a deplorable state and threaten the health of the population that uses these spaces for recreation. For example, we analyze the current situation of these lakes to implement restoration techniques that promote ecosystem services. The results of these case studies have shown us that the sum of each effort in protection of water resources will promote resilient systems to face climate change, so as to ensure water resources for future generations.

Biography: I was born in 1984 in Costa Rica. In 2010, I graduated as an agricultural engineer from the University of Costa Rica. Since 2010, I am part of the faculty of the Biosystems Engineering School. During the period from 2012 to 2017, I completed my doctoral studies at the School of Biosystems Engineering at Michigan State University and, since 2018, I rejoined the University of Costa Rica. I enjoy the research of water treatment techniques to ensure water provision to future generations.