Carl Zipper


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

Link to curriculum vita

Courses Taught

   ENSC 3604  - Fundamentals of Environmental Science
   CSES 5604 - Environmental Science Concepts for Professionals

Other Teaching and Advising

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.

Program Focus

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.

Future research

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.

Role of graduate students

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.

Extension Program

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.

Extension Philosophy

A major focus for my Extension is Powell River Project, including its Research and Education Center (see Thanks to the efforts of Center Manager and
Extension colleague Phil Meeks, 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.

Dr. Carl Zipper
  • (540) 231-9782
  • 185 Ag Quad Lane
    416 Smyth Hall
    Blacksburg, Virginia