M.S., Agricultural Economics, Virginia Tech, 1987
Ph.D., Agronomy, Virginia Tech, 1986
B.S., Agronomy, Virginia Tech, 1981
B.A., Social Science, Lehigh University, 1970
2012 - Present - Professor, Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech
2002 -2012 - Associate Professor, Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech
1996 - 2002 - Assistant Professor, Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech
1989 - 1996 - Research Scientist, Department of Agronomy / Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech
1986 - 1988 - Research Associate, Departments of Agronomy and Agricultural Economics, Virginia Tech
I also advise undergraduate and graduate students, serve as a member of the CSES Department Curriculum Committee, and serve as a member of the Master of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Admissions Committee.
My research generates scientific information that aids management of land and water resources and development of related public policy. Primary areas are mined land restoration and water quality. Current research areas are restoration of forested and aquatic ecosystems, and production of biomass, on reclaimed coal-mine areas; characterizing effects of mine discharge water quality in surface water streams; and landscape-level analyses of ecosystem recovery in coal mined areas of eastern USA.
I and colleagues are continuing our work to understand and aid management of ecosystem restoration and recovery processes in streams and forests that are being re-established on coal mined lands. A major concern is total dissolved solids (TDS) in coal-mine discharge waters. We are continuing efforts to determine how aquatic community composition is affected at various TDS concentrations, and we’ll be working with industry to develop mine-spoil management methods to both control mine waters’ TDS and accelerate terrestrial ecosystem restoration. Longer term research goals concern linkages between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem recovery, mine reclamation practices that can accelerate both terrestrial and aquatic recovery, and exploring how “lessons learned” from coal mine reclamation might apply to ecosystem restoration science more generally.
Graduate students are major contributors to my research programs. If and as funding becomes available, I will be seeking to engage new graduate students in the areas of mine spoil management for TDS control; mined land reforestation and biomass production; landscape-level characterization of forested ecosystem recovery processes in Appalachia; and management of aquatic ecosystem effects in streams receiving coal-mine water discharges.
My extension activities communicate scientific information to industries that manage land and water resources, and to agencies that oversee that management. Current areas of activity are restoration of mined lands, management of water resources influenced by coal mining in Appalachia, and development of nutrient criteria for the Commonwealth of Virginia. I serve as Director of the Powell River Project, a cooperative program of Virginia Tech and industry that conducts research and education programs to enhance restoration of coal mined lands.
A major focus for my Extension is Powell River Project, including its Research and Education Center (see http://www.cses.vt.edu/PRP/). Thanks to the efforts of Center Manager and Extension colleague Amy Gail Fannon-Osborne, this facility is able to host numerous environmental education programs in a coal mining and reclamation context. As Project Director, I have opportunity to work with faculty colleagues in developing research that will produce scientific information to aid land and water management on mined areas. I also work directly with industry and agencies to apply scientific information concerning land and water resource management; and I provide leadership in continuing development of two outreach publication series: The Powell River Project Cooperative Extension publications; and the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI) Forest Reclamation Advisories, which are developed by the ARRI Science Team and disseminated by US Office of Surface Mining and state mining agencies.