DAY 1 (February 20, 2018): Watershed Management and Water Quality
Lessons from the Chesapeake Bay TMDL -
Nicholas A. DiPasquale, Former Director, Chesapeake Bay Program Office,
M r. DiPasquale's Keynote Address will provide a brief overview of origins of the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort, the structure of the Chesapeake Bay Partnership, progress in the restoration effort to date as measured by key indicators, the essential components of TMDL in achieving water quality improvement and how this fits with the eco-system based initiative, funding the recovery effort, the importance of the role of local governments and the challenges facing the program in achieving TMDL goals by 2025. The presentation is intended to inform other estuary restoration efforts.
Restoring Appalachian River Networks in a Changing Climate -
Dr. J. Todd Petty, Professor and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, West
Virginia University Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources &
River restoration seeks to recover aquatic ecosystem functions lost from historic impacts. However, restoration actions must also consider the potential complicating effects of climate change. Dr. Petty will present the results from two studies of brook trout restoration in the Appalachian region. First, he will describe a process for identifying watershed restoration priorities within the context of expected impacts from climate change. This process can be used to direct resources towards restoration actions that have the greatest potential for producing benefits to brook trout populations under threat from climate change. Second, Dr. Petty will present results from a long-term assessment of restoration actions in the upper Shavers Fork, WV designed to recover brook trout populations and build resilience to future impacts from climate change. His results indicate that targeted watershed scale restoration actions can be used to re-establish connectivity among tributary populations and larger, productive main stem rivers that may be vulnerable to future warming. The synthesis of these two studies together is used to propose a path for conserving cold-water ecosystems in the face of climate change.
USACEHR Advances in Water Toxicity Sensors and Technology* – David Trader,
Executive Officer, Research Biologist, IACUC Chair, U.S. Army Center for
Environmental Health Research
The United States Army Center for Environmental Health Research (USACEHR) develops surveillance capabilities to detect, assess, and prevent undesirable health effects in Soldiers from adverse environmental, physiological, and psychological exposures. This session will discuss the strides USACEHR has accomplished in the area of developing biologically-based toxicity sensor technology for assessing potable field water. Current laboratory capabilities at USACEHR will also be discussed. The USACEHR has previously developed an automated fish biomonitor, a fish cell-based cartridge and a ticket-based pesticide assay for rapid toxicity testing of water, as well as several other technologies for Preventive Medicine Personnel. With the future emphasis on dense urban environments, the Army is also interested in developing rapid toxicity tests for coliform bacteria and toxic industrial chemicals in drinking water.
* The views, opinions, and/or findings contained in this publication are those of the author(s) and should not be construed as official Department of the Army position, policy, or decision, unless so designated by other official documentation. Citations of commercial organizations or trade names in this publication do not constitute an official Department of the Army endorsement or approval of the products or services of these organizations.
Soil Water Quality of Reforested Mine Site Twelve Years After Reclamation
– Dr. Amir Hass, Associate Research Professor of Soil
Water and Natural Resources Management, West Virginia State University
Forestry reclamation approaches (FRA) shown to improve success of reforestation of mine sites in Appalachia by alleviating soil compaction and selection of proper topsoil replacement materials conducive to root growth. Material selection and management practices also expect to affect soil water quality and composition. This study evaluate the effect of FRA practices, namely the use of oxidized vs. reduced sandstone spoils as topsoil replacement material, and loose vs. compacted placement thereof on soil water quality of WV mine site, 12 years after reclamation. Experimental plots established in 2005 and shallow wells and zero-tension pan lysimeters (at 30 to 80 cm) installed in the spring of 2017 to collect and monitor water quality. Water samples were collected weekly from June to mid-November 2017 and analyzed for total alkalinity and elemental and ionic composition, as well as dissolve oxygen, pH, temperature, and redox potential. Initial results showed levels of alkali and alkaline earth metals within the range of benchmark reference values for surface water in WV (0.8 – 1.9 times the reference levels) while that of Fe, Mn were much higher (878, and 604 times the reference levels of 0.019, and 0.016 mg L-1, respectively). Levels of heavy metals were elevated as well (1.8, 23, and 37 times the reference levels of 0.0076, 0.0027, and 0.0008 mg L-1, for Ni, Zn, and Cu, respectively). Overall, redox processes and seasonal variation therein seemed to govern metal solubility, nitrogen speciation, and pH of the reclaimed mine site soil solution 12 years after reclamation.
Sensing and Educating the Nexus to Sustain Ecosystems (SENSE): Implementation
of the Kentucky-West Virginia Partnership
– Dr. Mindy Armstead, Associate Professor Integrated Science
and Technology, Marshall University
The potential for management opportunities of large river systems to minimize the incidence of harmful algal blooms (HABs) is being investigated with the implementation of a high-frequency data collection program and multi-sector collaborations. With the incidence of HABs increasing nationwide, more resources are directed toward monitoring and predicting bloom locations and severity. Factors complicating these predictions in large river systems are their extension across state and federal regulatory boundaries, multiple land use scenarios, numerous and diverse stakeholders, and multiple designated uses of the resource. Responding to the challenges, Sensing and Educating the Nexus to Sustain Ecosystems (SENSE) is a research program funded by NSF-EPSCoR (2016-2020) that supports cyber-infrastructure development in the partner states. With the specific goal of investigating the influence of food and energy production on aquatic ecosystems and HAB formation, the project has grown through outreach and partnering with stakeholders sharing common goals. Project objectives include real-time monitoring of water quality parameters associated with HAB development in Kentucky Lake and the Ohio River with the goals of establishing relationships among water quality and quantity and bloom formation to better predict bloom development and to potentially reduce the incidence of HABs in the targeted water bodies. High-frequency monitoring of general water chemistry, chlorophyll a, phycocyanin, nitrates and phosphates will be discussed, along with strategies for stakeholder/partnership development on the large river ecosystems, successes and failures of deployment designs and instrumentation, sampling plans and their modifications, and strategies for moving forward with predictive HAB model development.
Mapping the Blue Marble: Using Space-Based Observations for Improved Global Water
Security and Sustainability
– Dr. John Bolten, Associate Program Manager of Water Resources, NASA
Applied Sciences Program
Of the 7.4 billion people on the planet, roughly one billion people currently lack access to clean water, and with the projected increases in population and water demand, these stresses on water are expected to increase significantly in the next decade. The same stresses on water resources are also driving technological advances in Earth observations, notably satellite-based remote sensing and numerical modeling approaches for improved monitoring and management of water resources. NASA is a leader in the global monitoring of water from space. Satellite- and aircraft-based sensors now have the ability to measure the height of water bodies with centimeter accuracy, monitor the movement of water beneath the surface of the earth, detect the amount of water being used by vegetation, and accurately measure the amount of snow captured in the mountains and in the soil. Combined with a water management strategies and innovative land surface modeling approaches, NASA Earth observations are being used to carefully monitor and assess current water conditions and design potential scenarios of future changes in water resources and water demands. These scenarios then enable experts to formulate development pathways and consider synergies and trade-offs for using water resources more efficiently and effectively to meet national priorities within the sustainability framework. This talk will highlight recent advances in the use of satellite, airborne, and ground-based sensor networks to measure the quantity and quality of hydrologic resources in the U.S. and internationally, provide information to water managers to improve water resources management, and support risk-based decision-making.
The Confluence of Scientific, Social and Economic Aspects of Water in West
Virginia Today - Angie Rosser, Executive Director, West Virginia Rivers Coalition
Most citizens are not deeply aware how policies and practices that influence water quality and watershed management affect their everyday lives. West Virginia Rivers Coalition strives to connect the dots between the scientific, social, economic and political aspects of water in our state. This presentation provides an overview of the socio-political backdrop of watershed management in West Virginia, as well as opens discussion about current issues that present threats and opportunities for water security for the state and region.
Utilizing eDNA Metabarcoding for Fish Community Analysis in Appalachian Headwater
Streams – Dr. Yvette Halley, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, West Virginia
Historically, the conservation and management of aquatic organisms and ecosystems was dependent on a thorough understanding of species’ distribution and/or community composition. However, distributional and compositional data can be difficult to obtain across relevant scales due to limited resources and potential logistical issues associated with certain taxa (e.g., sampling cryptic or threatened and endangered species). The utilization of environmental DNA (eDNA) is an innovative development in the non-invasive monitoring of aquatic target species and communities. These novel technologies focus on the capture and utilization of genetic material (i.e., hair, feces, urine, feathers, skin, and saliva) shed by various organisms into their environment. Since, aquatic eDNA is susceptible to environmental variables (i.e., UV irradiation, extreme temperature, pH, salinity) it experiences a high rate of degradation over short periods. Thus allowing for discrete detection windows, which is generally associated with recent species’ presence. For the present study, we utilized an aqueous environmental DNA filtering approach in conjunction with chloroform:isoamyl alcohol extractions, metabarcoding and next-generation sequencing technologies to survey fish assemblages in Appalachian headwater streams.
Inorganic carbon and CO2 from karst springs and mine waters – Dr. Dorothy Vesper
Associate Professor of Geology,
West Virginia University
The flux of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) from groundwater to surface water, and from surface water to the atmosphere, is a critical component in the terrestrial water-carbon cycle. Scientists who study the geochemistry of karst (limestone) systems have estimated values for the CO 2 partial pressure (P CO2) extensively in their characterization and interpretation of karst waters. The amount of CO 2 in the water is closely linked to the solution pH and the likelihood that the water will either dissolve or precipitate carbonate minerals. DIC and CO 2 may also exist in waters associated with coal mines. In karst systems, limestone dissolution is typically driven by atmospherically derived H 2CO 3 but in mine waters dissolution is typically driven by sulfide-derived H 2SO 4. In the first case, the net flux of sequestered carbon is zero but in the later there is a net release of sequestered carbon.
Vesper's research group is currently measuring and comparing DIC and CO 2 concentrations from karst springs, sandstone springs and coal mine discharges. In the karst springs, they estimate CO 2 from the pH and alkalinity; for the other locations we measure CO 2 and DIC directly using an Anton Paar carbonation meter. The estimation method works well in the karst waters but not in mine water because they are chemically unstable after being discharged from the subsurface. They find that mine waters can have higher fluxes of CO 2 than the karst springs; and are currently investigating the temporal changes in the concentrations. Lastly, Vesper's team is testing new methods for measuring CO 2.
Improved Landscape Characterization for Modeling Receiving Stream Conditions
– Dr. Michael Strager, Professor of Resource Economics and Management,
West Virginia University
One frequently studied aspect of the hydrological cycle is modeling the relationship between the landscape and receiving streams. Landscape analysis is often performed with easily accessible land cover data sources– however, these data may not have adequate spatial resolution to represent localized features. In addition, readily available land cover datasets (such as the National Land Cover Dataset) may also have poor temporal correspondence with associated in-stream datasets. Our goal in this study was to improve the landscape characterization process with newer machine and deep learning algorithms applied to high temporal and spatial resolution aerial photography. The process has proven to be beneficial to map unique local features in North Central Appalachia such as oil and gas disturbance. In addition to feature mapping, we highlight the importance of terrain characteristics, (specifically flow paths to receiving streams) as an improvement in modeling the landscape to receiving stream condition. This is performed using a weighted flow path model which includes the length, direction, and complexity of terrain. The advantages of this approach is that it can account for both positive and negative factors that influence water quality. This improved landscape characterization which includes both the mapping of land features and inclusion of terrain paths weighted to the features provides promise in the area of spatial hydrology.
Innovative Fe-based technologies for Improving Food-Energy-Water Nexus Efficiencies
in Coal Producing Regions – Dr. Lian-Shin Lin, Professor, Civil and
Environmental Engineering, West Virginia University
A regional approach using innovative iron-based technologies was developed to enable new food-energy-water (FEW) interlinkages to improve nexus efficiencies in pollution reduction, energy efficiency, and better nutrient management for food production. This presentation focuses on identifying opportunities for using iron as a green agent in developing innovative Fe-based technologies and demonstrating their technological feasibility. The technologies include a Fe-dosed anaerobic biological process for wastewater treatment, and extracting useful chemical elements (Fe and Al) from acid mine drainage. The Fe-dosed treatment process does not require aeration, which represents a saving of 50-75% of electricity cost compared to typical wastewater treatment plants using aerobic biological treatment. Results showed that Fe/S ratio is a key factor affecting the Fe-dosed treatment process, and overall better treatment performance was obtained under Fe/S molar ratio 1 than ratio 0.5. The AMD-extracted elements are used in making Fe- and/or Al-coated sorbent. The sorbent is versatile in its applications ranging from removing phosphorus from nutrient-laden wastewaters to for phosphorus management in crop production. Phosphorus adsorption capacity of a Fe-coated sorbent was as high as 0.2 lb PO4/lb Fe. The sorbent-bound phosphorus was bioavailable for tomato growth, which render the sorbent an effective agent for nutrient management and food production.
The MUB Monitor: A Source Water Protection and Spill Response Tool
Mr. Evan Hansen, President, Downstream Strategies
In 2014, a chemical leak contaminated drinking water for approximately 300,000 West Virginians. In response, legislation required water utilities to implement new source water protection measures, and in Monongalia County, the Morgantown Utility Board implemented a comprehensive Source Water Protection Program. The MUB Monitor is at the core this program. It provides secure, web-based decision-support tools to utility managers to respond effectively to spills, rank the threats posed by aboveground storage tanks, manage risks from potential contaminant sources upstream from the intakes, and communicate effectively should contamination occur.
- Dr. Paolo Farah, Assistant Professor of Public Administration. West Virginia University
The Appalachian Water Tower: The role of mountain catchments in regional
Dr. Nicolas Zegre, Associate Professor of Forest Hydrology, West Virginia
The Appalachian Mountains play a critical role in provisioning fresh water ecosystem services to the eastern and mid-western United States, yet the role and reliability of mountain water as a strategic resource is largely unknown. Due to complex topography, the convergence of different weather systems, and extensive forest cover, West Virginia generates a disproportionately large amount of precipitation and streamflow than lower lying regions. West Virginia therefore acts as a water tower to downstream areas, providing water directly to communities in the Chesapeake Bay and Ohio River watersheds that include important and rapidly expanding urban economies such as Washington, D.C. and Pittsburgh, PA. This upstream-downstream configuration creates a hydrological and social dependence that should be recognized in order to create new opportunities for water resources management, economic development, and to increase water security across the region. In this research, we quantify climate and streamflow under different climate change scenarios at a high resolution (4-km, daily) to assess current and future water resources availability throughout the Appalachian Mountains region, as well as for regions downstream that are dependent on Appalachian water. In addition, we develop a water tower model to identify locations on the landscape that play a larger role in freshwater provisioning to downstream economies to highlight regional dependence between cities and the mountains. Our water tower model provides an innovative approach for studying coupled human-water systems, potentially offering decision makers a means of prioritizing water resources management across the region to promote economic growth and water security.
Treating Effluent Streams at Coal Power Plants
– Dr. Nicholas Siefert, Research Mechanical Engineer, U.S.
Department of Energy National Energy Technology Lab
A 21st century America will need to count on abundant, sustainable fossil energy as well as water resources to achieve the flexibility, efficiency, reliability, and environmental quality essential for continued U.S. security and economic health. Due both to water scarcity challenges in the Western U.S. and to recent EPA effluent limitation guidelines at coal power plants, there is urgent need to develop cost-effective technologies to reduce fresh water consumption at power plants and to reduce effluent waters discharged from power plants. This talk will focus on R&IC’s current and future research and development efforts that are focused on treating effluent streams at coal power plants. This talk will include: (1) a summary of current EPA regulations on effluent discharge from coal power plants, (2) a detailed summary of the current options for treating these effluent streams, such as Reserve Osmosis and Mechanical Vapor Recompression, and (3) a summary of NETL-funded research into overcoming the operating limitations of commercially-available RO and MVR processes.
Water Resource Management: The Economic Perspective
Dr. Levan Elbakidze, Assistant Professor of Resource Economics and Management,
West Virginia University
Human activities depend on and influence supply and integrity of fresh water resources. While some emerging new technologies enable savings in water use, other technologies, like unconventional oil and gas production, introduce new demands for water resources with implications for both quantity and quality in regional water systems. At times of scarcity, in terms of quantity and/or quality, re-evaluation of distribution may be required taking into account tradeoffs and opportunity costs. The discipline of economics is fundamentally concerned with how best to distribute scarce resources across unlimited wants. This approach generally implies allocation of water to its highest value use. However, because of “non-market” nature of water resources, determination of the value in a quantitative sense is difficult and often requires interdisciplinary approach. This talk will highlight some of the water resource challenges in this region, emphasizing interdependencies between natural and human systems, and will review basic economic principles involved in water resource management.