Concurrent Session 7
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(86) The Case for More Data
Presenter: Amy Longcrier, Biohabitats, email@example.com
Abstract: Is Stream Restoration doing what we claim? Are crediting models too conservative or too generous? Is there more to the story than nutrient removal? Monitoring data comparing conditions before and after stream restoration is lacking. While we know some things anecdotally about restored streams – sediment reduction occurs, peak flows are attenuated, and habitat is improved. We know more about un-restored stream conditions empirically – bank erosion rates, nutrient content of sediment, and the rapid deterioration of stream conditions once disconnected from the floodplain. We lack empirical data comparing conditions before and after stream restoration during a length of time substantial enough to influence crediting methods and design practices. This presentation hopes to call into action the academic community to team with stream restoration professionals and establish a consistent approach to collect the necessary data to influence policy and improve design techniques. We all want our work to make the greatest positive impact possible on the environment; without a complete feedback loop, including concrete data, we can not be sure our methods are aligned with our collective goals.
Biography: Amy Longcrier is a professional engineer with a BS in Biostystems Engineering from The University of Tennessee. Ms. Longcrier began working in the engineering field in 2005 and at Biohabitats in 2008. She works closely with scientists, landscape architects, and other engineers to provide thoughtful, functional, and effective design solutions and develop construction documents. The majority of Ms. Longcrier’s experience is in stream restoration where she supports the process from assessment through construction. Her design experience is primarily related to hydrology and hydraulics as they pertain to stream and wetlands systems.
(87) Using University of Maryland Campus Creek as a Study Site for Urban Creek Restoration
Presenter: Denise Alving, University of Maryland, College Park, firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-Authors: Annabelle Arnold, Faez Azizul, Mitchell Burke, Larry Davis, Trang Le, Calvin Lynn, Jacob Mast, Jonathan Moy
Abstract: Urban stream health is a pressing issue in today’s society, as more of our natural bodies of water become surrounded by construction and development. Here we use a creek running through the University of Maryland, College Park campus as a study on stream restoration. Current and previous restoration projects on and around the campus creek will be discussed and a student-led restoration of the lower part of the stream will be introduced. The student-led group collected measurements of bank erosion and water quality, as well as soil classification and identification of plant and macroinvertebraete species. These measurements guide the proposal of a stream bank buffering system and wetland species planting in order to mitigate the effect of stormwater erosion. Design and construction of the system will be centered around restoring the biogeochemical cycling within the stream, as well as addressing the physiological needs of native plant and macroinvertebraete species within the stream and along the stream bank. Furthermore, the restoration seeks to address the needs of the students and faculty of the campus, by making the stream easily accessible and aesthetic.
Biography: Denise is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, with a BS in Environmental Science and Biology. She will begin a PhD in Forest Resources at Pennsylvania State University in August. Throughout her time at the University of Maryland, Denise has been involved in sustainable projects, designing and constructing a greywater filtration system along with Gemstone Team PURIFY for UMD’s 2nd place winning entry to the 2017 Solar Decathlon Competition. In her last two years at Maryland, she became involved in several projects with the UMD chapter of AEES, including founding and leading the Stream Restoration Project in September 2018. She hopes to continue working on the installation of the stream restoration system during this summer, and continue remotely during the fall.
(88) Urban Environmental Restoration: Ecological vs. Social Values
Presenter: Isaac Hinson, City of Charlotte, email@example.com
Abstract: With over 800,000 residents, the City of Charlotte is the largest municipality in North Carolina. One of Charlotte’s main environmental focal points is improving the city’s surface water quality, which is generally impaired due to past impacts and ongoing development. One mechanism for watershed improvement is the implementation of capital improvement projects, including stream restoration, wetland restoration, and stormwater control measures (SCMs). Traditional ecosystem restoration projects typically emphasize larger project size, minimal human disturbance, and extensive buffers, all of which are difficult to achieve in urban environments. Furthermore, urban watershed improvement efforts are limited by cost, multiple constraints, and limited functional potential. These urban circumstances have typically been viewed as obstacles to successful ecosystem restoration, as project success is often measured through indicators of ecological function. However, where urban projects lack in traditional project-scale ecological value, they provide great opportunities for human-nature interaction and exceptional social value. This social value can be difficult to quantify and compare to ecological value but has the potential to exceed project-scale benefits. By bringing nature to the masses and incorporating opportunities for recreation and education, urban restoration projects provide tremendous opportunities to foster environmental appreciation and stewardship. The added social value for properly planned urban restoration projects transcends the ecological value of the project itself, and should be given greater consideration by the ecological restoration community. This presentation will evaluate Charlotte’s past restoration practices and provide a conceptual framework for planning and implementing future projects that maximize both ecological and social values. This framework includes integrating restoration projects with greenways, parks, schools, and traditionally underserved communities; incorporating measures that provide for education and interaction; and modifying traditional restoration practices to provide community benefits.
Biography: Isaac Hinson is the Watershed Improvement Supervisor for the City of Charlotte Storm Water Services surface water quality improvement program. He has a B.S. in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a M.S. in Biology from Winthrop University. He is certified as a Professional Wetland Scientist by the Society of Wetland Scientists and has over 15 years of professional experience in water quality and stream and wetland science.
(89) The Reedy Creek Project: A Watershed Scale Stream Restoration Project in Charlotte, NC
Presenter: Christine Blackwelder, Wildlands Engineering, Inc., firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: The Reedy Creek Park and Nature Preserve consists of 927 acres of natural, forested habitat and is located within northeast Charlotte’s university area. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services (CMSWS) identified this area as a unique opportunity to protect and restore a headwater stream network while providing stream and wetland credits for the City’s Umbrella Mitigation Bank. Goals of the project included improving bed and bank stability, diversifying habitat, and improving the hydrologic connectivity of the streams, wetlands and floodplains through natural channel design techniques.
CMSWS partnered with Wildlands Engineering as the design-build firm to complete design, public outreach, easement acquisition, permitting, construction, and mitigation monitoring services. The project was constructed through the progressive design-build approach from November 2017 through February 2019. Over 5 miles of streams were restored and reconnected to their floodplains and almost 3 miles of headwater streams were protected. Stream restoration projects are ideal candidates for the design-build method as compared with the traditional low-bid build process, as the delivery method allows for field design changes during construction, which are a critical component for a successful stream restoration project.
This presentation will review the structure of the Reedy Creek watershed, which includes an agricultural subwatershed, an uncontrolled high-density residential subwatershed, a stormwater controlled residential subwatershed, and an undeveloped forested subwatershed. The varied complexities of design and construction from subwatershed to subwatershed will be highlighted and discussed, as will the innovative partnerships that allowed for execution of Priority 1 watershed restoration project of this scale.
Biography: Christine Blackwelder currently serves as a Senior Environmental Scientist for Wildlands Engineering’s Charlotte, NC office. Christine has 17 years of experience in environmental restoration. As a technical leader in stream restoration for Wildlands, her duties include assessment, design, and management of ecological restoration projects, as well as conducting internal technical trainings. Wildlands Engineering specializes in stream and wetland restoration with a particular focus on innovative engineering for ecosystem renewal.
(90) Potential of Targeted Wetland Restoration to Reduce Nitrogen Loads to Surface Waters in Iowa
Presenter: William Crumpton, Iowa State University, email@example.com
Co-Authors: Greg Stenback, Iowa State University, firstname.lastname@example.org; Stephen Fisher, Iowa State University, email@example.com; Jana Stenback, Iowa State University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: The state of Iowa has adopted a statewide strategy to reduce nonpoint source nitrogen loads to surface waters by 41%. The strategy involves a wide range of in-field and off-field practices, but relies heavily on restoring thousands of wetlands targeted to intercept and reduce nitrate loads from about 4 million hectares of cropland. Wetland restoration is a promising strategy for reducing surface water contamination in agricultural watersheds and in particular for reducing agricultural nitrate loads to the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Nearly 90 wetlands have been restored through the Iowa Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program with the explicit goal of intercepting and reducing nonpoint source nitrate loads. These wetlands total over 300 ha of pool area and intercept nitrate loads from approximately 45,000 ha of primarily cultivated cropland. Over the past 10 years, we have measured nitrogen mass balances of a selected subset of these wetlands to evaluate their effectiveness at reducing agricultural, nonpoint source nitrogen loads and to develop models for predicting wetland performance at scale and in combination with other practices. The monitored wetlands were selected to ensure a broad spectrum of major external forcing functions affecting wetland performance including hydraulic loading rate, residence time, nitrate concentration, and nitrate loading rate. Nitrogen loads to the wetlands were primarily in the form of nitrate and all of the wetlands were effective in reducing both nitrate and total N loads. Nitrate removal efficiency (expressed as annual percent mass removal) ranged from 7-90% and was primarily a function of hydraulic loading rate and temperature. Mass nitrate removal ranged from 115-3430 kg N/ha/year and was primarily a function of hydraulic loading rate, temperature, and nitrate concentration. Our results demonstrate that wetlands can be effective sinks for nonpoint source nitrate loads across a wide range of conditions and that performance can be reasonably predicted based on hydraulic loading rate, temperature, and nitrate concentration. We extended these results to project statewide nitrate load reductions for Iowa using a combination of nutrient management and targeted wetland restorations. Results demonstrated that targeted wetland restorations will be critical to achieving Iowa’s nutrient reduction goals.
Biography: William Crumpton is University Professor of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology and chair of the undergraduate Environmental Science program at Iowa State University where he teaches courses on mass balance analysis and modeling and conducts research on the hydrologic and water quality functions of wetlands. His research focuses on wetland processes and functions, including the dynamics of energy flow and nutrient transformation in wetlands, the fate and effects of agricultural contaminants in wetlands, and the role of restored and constructed wetlands in watershed hydrology and water quality. Dr. Crumpton is an authority on the functions of wetlands in agricultural landscapes and his research provided the scientific and technical foundation for development and implementation of the Iowa Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, a $100 million program using targeted wetland restorations to reduce nitrate loads from agricultural watersheds.
(92) Mississippi Delta Restoration: Ecological Engineering on a Grand Scale
Presenter: John Day, Louisiana State University, email@example.com
Abstract: The Mississippi delta is one of the largest coastal ecosystems but it has suffered 25% wetland loss in the 20th century. The state of Louisiana is investing $50B in a 50-year Coastal Master Plan (CMP) to reduce flood risk for developed areas and restore deltaic wetlands to a more self-sustaining and healthy condition. Both hard structures (levees, floodwalls) and wetlands sustained by “soft” projects (river diversions, marsh nourishment, barrier island maintenance) can work together to reduce risk of future hurricane damage to coastal cities, towns and industry, while also protecting livelihoods and ways of life built around harvesting natural resources But the pace of greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change, as well as the inevitable rise in energy costs, will make achieving CMP goals ever more challenging and expensive. Regardless of the project portfolios evaluated in the current CMP, the hydrodynamic and ecological modeling underpinning CMP projections indicates that fully implementing the plan will reduce future deltaic land-loss rates by less than 20 percent. The cost of delta restoration is quite sensitive to project type and sequencing. Investment is, for example, front-loaded for river diversions and marsh creation but back-loaded for most other project types. Repeated evacuations followed by more or less managed retreat will also continue to be necessary for much of the population even if the existing CMP is improved to increase supply of fine-grained sediments to the MRD. The CMP is ecological engineering on a grand scale, but to be successful it must operate in consonance with complex social processes. This will mean living in a much more open system, accepting natural and social limitations, and utilizing the resources of the river more fully.
Biography: John W. Day, Jr. is Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, College of the Coast & Environment at Louisiana State University, where he has taught since 1971. He has published extensively on the ecology and management of coastal and wetland ecosystems, with emphasis on the Mississippi delta, and has over 350 peer-reviewed publications. He is co-editor (with B. Crump, M. Kemp, and A. Yáñez-Arancibia) of Estuarine Ecology 2013, 2nd edition; coeditor (with C. Hall) of Ecological Modeling in Theory and Practice; coeditor (with W. Conner) of The Ecology of the Barataria Basin, An Estuarine Profile, coeditor (with A. Yáñez-Arancibia) of the Ecology of Coastal Ecosystems in the Southern Mexico: The Terminos Lagoon Region; coeditor (with A. Yáñez-Arancibia) of Ecosystem Based Management of the Gulf of Mexico in 2013; and co-author of Americas Most Sustainable Cities and Regions – Surviving the 21st Century Megatrends (2016). Professor Day received his PhD in marine sciences and environmental sciences from the University of North Carolina in 1971 working with the noted ecologist Dr. H.T. Odum. Since then, he has conducted extensive research on the ecology and management of the Mississippi Delta and for the last 40 years, has studied coastal ecosystems in Mexico. He was a visiting professor in the Institute of Marine Sciences of the National University of Mexico in 1978-1979, at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands during 1986, at the Laboratoire d’Ecologie, Unversité Claude Bernard in Arles France during 1992-93, and in the Department of Geography at Cambridge University in 2000-2001. He has also worked with the University of Campeche and the Institute of Ecology in Xalapa, Mexico. From 1992-2017, Professor Day worked in the Mediterranean studying the impacts of climate change on wetlands in Venice Lagoon and in the Po, Rhone and Ebro deltas. He has worked on using wetlands as a means of removing nitrogen from the Mississippi River. Dr. Day also served as a member of the hypoxia reassessment taskforce and published with Dr. William Mitsch on this subject. He is currently involved in research on the impacts of 21st century megatrends on sustainability of natural and human systems. He served as chair of the National Technical Review Committee reviewing the restoration program for the Mississippi delta and is currently active in delta restoration. He served as chair of the Science and Engineering Special Team on restoration of the Mississippi delta (a book on this effort was published in 2014). He serves on the Scientific Steering Committee of the Future Earth Coasts program, an international coastal science effort. He served on a National Research Council panel on urban sustainability. He is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship for study in France and the Estuarine Research Federation Cronin Award for excellence in teaching in coastal sciences. He has served as major professor for 70 MS and PhD students and has written and edited 14 books, published over 350 peer-reviewed articles, and has a total of over 400 publications. His work has been cited over 21,000 times
(94) Utilizing Algae for the Production of High-Quality Biomethane via Anaerobic Digestion
Presenter: Danielle Delp, University of Maryland, firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-Authors: Andrea Yarberry, PhD,United States Department of Agriculture, email@example.com; Peter May, PhD, University of Maryland, firstname.lastname@example.org; Patrick Kangas, PhD, University of Maryland, email@example.com; Freddie Witarsa, PhD, Colorado Mesa University, firstname.lastname@example.org; Stephanie Lansing, PhD; University of Maryland, email@example.com
Abstract: Algal turf scrubbers (ATS) operate by extracting nutrients and filtering water through algal biomass growth on a lattice mat located on a raceway. This process creates a small, controlled algal bloom that uptakes nutrients from water pumped through the system, with regular harvesting of the biomass to maintain high growth rates. An ATS system, consisting of a 61 x 2 m runway with 1% slope, has been operating at the Port of Baltimore in Dundalk, Maryland for years, reducing nutrient contamination in the Patapsco River, which flows into the Chesapeake Bay. Starting in 2017, the algae that was harvested weekly from the ATS was utilized in a series of three anaerobic digesters (AD) to produce biogas for renewable energy production. Digesters 1 (D1) and 2 (D2) operated in parallel (1700 L each), while Digester 3 (D3) at 500 L was connected in series to D2, thus, increasing the hydraulic retention times (HRT) in the D2-D3 system. Over the 13-week experimental period, D1 and the D2-D3 system produced 1840 L and 2461 L of biogas, respectively. The average concentration of methane (CH4) in the biogas in D1, D2, and D3 was 73.0 ± 1.57, 68.9 ± 3.42, and 69.2 ± 2.81%, respectively. This quantity of biogas produced was lower in 2018 compared to 2017 due to a lower mass of ATS harvested in 2018 compared to 2017 due to unusually wet conditions in Maryland. However, the quality of the biogas was higher in 2018, as the hydrogen sulfide (H2S) content of the biogas remained below 5 ppm for all three digesters, which reduces the likelihood of corrosion in engines and fuel cells that use the biogas to generate electricity. The implications of the integration of the ATS nutrient removal technology with anaerobic digestion and renewable energy production will be discussed.
Biography: Danielle Delp is a PhD student. She currently researches the incorporation of algal bioremediation systems and anaerobic digestion technology in the lab of Dr. Stephanie Lansing at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland.
(95) An Investigative Study into Biomass Yield Production and Energy Content from Three Feedstocks as a Sustainable Solution for Right-of-Way Management
Presenter: David Penn II, Georgia Southern University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-Authors: Francisco Cubas, Georgia Southern University, email@example.com; Celine Manoosingh, Georgia Southern University, firstname.lastname@example.org; Subhrajit Saha, Texas State University, email@example.com
Abstract: In recent years, there has been an increasing interest from state Departments of Transportation to assess the potential of using highway right-of-way (ROW) for viable renewable energy production. This study was to done to assess the viability of roadside feedstock production by establishing five ROW sites along I-16 in Georgia, where plots of Switchgrass, Big Bluestem, and Woodland Sunflowers were planted to measure biomass and energy production potential. Results revealed that sites 1-5 had mean dry biomass yields (averaged over two years) for Switchgrass ranging from 33 – 85 Mg/ha/yr. Similarly, mean dry biomass yields ranging from 6.0 – 62 Mg/ha, and 2.2 – 10.3 Mg/ha were measured for Big Bluestem and Woodland Sunflower respectively at same sampling locations. The energy content for each plant species was 22.44, 25.02, and 19.27 kj/g for Switchgrass, Big Bluestem and Woodland Sunflower respectively. Additionally, results showed that the energy production generated within the ROW ranged from 74.1 – 190.7 Gj/ha for Switchgrass, 15.0 – 155.12 Gj/ha for Big Bluestem and 4.2 – 19.8 Gj/ha for Woodland Sunflower. Increasing N rates up to 120 kg N/ha by the addition of fertilizer did not have a significant impact on biomass production and energy content. Similar biomass yields for Big Bluestem and Switchgrass samples treated with 0 and 60 kg N/ha fertilizer rates highlighted the potential to establish both species as a sustainable alternative for ROW biomass production with minimal fertilizer application. Despite woodland sunflower dry matter yields not being significantly affected by 0, 60 and 120 kg nitrogen (N) fertilizer rates, its low biomass yields highlighted the low production value of this feedstock in ROW areas. Finally, higher energy contents coupled with high dry matter yields indicated the potential of Big Bluestem and Switchgrass to emerge as viable candidates for highway ROW renewable energy production across southeastern Georgia.
Biography: David Penn II is the presenting author of “An Investigative Study into Biomass Yield Production and Energy Content from Three Feedstocks as a Sustainable Solution for Right-of-Way Management’. He was born on the 20th of August, 1991. He currently resides in Statesboro, Georgia, though he lived in Willingboro, New Jersey, as a child. He enrolled at Georgia Southern University for an undergraduate program in civil engineering. While at college, he ws was a Geographic Information Systems Intern (GIS) at the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) where he participated in and facilitated internal GIS committee meetings. After completing college he was employed at Terracon as an engineering technician before returning to Georgi Southern University to pursue a masters degree in civil engineering. He gives credit to his family for having instilled the right values at the right time, and for supporting him with his endeavors.
(96) Feasibility of Anaerobic Co-Digestion to Manage Food Waste and Wastewater Solids from Yosemite National Park, USA
Presenter: Julia Burmistrova, University of California, Merced, firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-Authors: Marc Beutel, University of California, Merced, email@example.com; Steve Shackelton, University of California, Merced, firstname.lastname@example.org; Jodi Bailey, Yosemite National Park and the National Park Service, email@example.com
Abstract: Yosemite National Park (YNP) is implementing a Zero Landfill Initiative to completely divert solid waste away from landfills. Regional landfill disposal is problematic for several reasons including high tipping fees, ever diminishing landfill capacity, air pollution emissions associated with waste transport and landfill management, and in the case of organic waste, a loss of the potential energy stored in the waste. More sustainable and local methods of managing solid waste are needed. Each year YNP receives 4-5 million visitors that produce an estimated 665 annual tons of solid municipal waste and 1.5 annual tons of wastewater solids. Much of this solid waste includes organic waste predominantly in the form of food waste. In this study we assess the feasibility of implementing a co-digestion program to convert organic waste to useable energy. Co-digestion is a form of anaerobic digestion in which food waste is combined with wastewater solids and treated in large anaerobic tanks or “digestors”. The byproduct of anaerobic co-digestion, biogas (methane and carbon dioxide), is collected and combusted to produce energy. A new $80 million wastewater treatment plant is currently being planned for YNP near El Portal, California. This gives YNP a unique window to evaluate the feasibility of coupling organic solid waste and wastewater solids to enhance methane gas and energy production, while substantially lowering the amount of solid waste disposed in landfills. The presentation will include results of a biochemical methane potential (BMP) test, a key anaerobic treatment metric, performed using various combinations of YNP food waste and wastewater solids.
Biography: After earning a dual-BS in Bioenvironmental Engineering from Rutgers University (New Jersey), Julia moved all the way to sunny California to get an MS in Environmental Systems at University of California, Merced. Currently, she is working on an anaerobic co-digestion project in tandem with Yosemite National Park and their Zero Landfill Initiative. The project is taking an innovative look at the combination of food waste diversion and wastewater treatment. After she finishes her MS this summer, she hopes to continue her work in environmental engineering with a focus in sustainability and waste management, especially since there are many new global waste issues popping up today.
(97) The Bio-Intensive Greenhouse Agrodynamic System (BioGAS)
Presenter: John Mueller, Mueller Environmental & Sustainability, Inc., firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: Agricultural practices in Western North Carolina have caused adverse environmental consequences associated with surface water runoff and air emissions. New management methods and technologies are needed to minimize environmental impacts and maximize the benefits of energy and fertilizer value that manure represents. Anaerobic digestion is the oldest and best developed technology for promoting biogas production and utilizing the resultant gas as fuel and the effluent slurry as fertilizer. Implementation of this technology at the small farm and homestead scale (e.g., micro-scale) provides opportunities for integrated systems approaches that can increase efficiency and profitability of operations while at the same time addressing environmental concerns. In an effort to standardize and facilitate adoption and implementation of these advantages, the Biointensive Greenhouse Agrodynamic™ System (BioGAS™) was developed. BioGAS combines component design features and an eco-friendly, cradle-to-cradle, integrated systems approach with the objective of optimizing economic and environmental benefits of agricultural operations at the micro-scale. The Warren Wilson College Farm served as a case-study for this project. A site-specific conceptual design was prepared to provide a basis for this feasibility study. This feasibility study uses the conceptual design as a basis for cost/benefit analysis as well as identification of safety, policy, and funding considerations. The total initial capital investment is estimated at $3,500 with annual operation and maintenance costs of $2,850 and annual value of benefits of $3,500 This equates to a payback period of 5.4 years and a return on investment of 18.6%. This study demonstrates outstanding potential for innovative, integrated systems approaches to attain positive triple-bottom-line outcomes, including economic advantages to farmers, reduced environmental impacts, and social benefits to the community from increased supply of fresh local produce and a cleaner environment.
Biography: John Mueller graduated from Tulane University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering and from Lenoir-Rhyne University with a Master of Science degree in Sustainability Studies. His career in environmental consulting started with hazardous waste site investigation and remediation support as a technical assistance contractor to USEPA. His innovative approaches, streamlined management, and collaboration led to the fastest cleanup of a National Priorities List site in US history at the Southern Shipbuilding Corporation site. Since 2005 he has been serving Western North Carolina as President and Owner of Mueller Environmental and Sustainability, Inc. The company is dedicated to improving the quality of life and future prospects for residents and businesses in the region.