Next Talk in Water Restoration Series at Yale University Will Focus on Bioengineering to Improve Water Quality

The public is invited to the semester-long Distinguished Lecturer lunch time series titled “The Restoration Agenda: Water!” at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (F&ES). Topics will include revitalization of urban and rural waterways, wetlands and waterfronts; water quality and waste water treatment; flood mitigation; and aquatic and wetland habitats. The Wednesday talks will be from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Bowers Auditorium at Sage Hall, 205 Prospect St.

There is a fee of $100 per person for community participants for the semester. A limited number of fellowships are available for qualified registrants. For registration information, contact Aimlee D. Laderman, Ph.D., lecturer in wetland ecology and research affiliate at the F&ES, telephone 432-3335.

The speaker on Jan. 21 will be Wendi Goldsmith, senior bioengineer with The Bioengineering Group Inc. in Salem, Massachusetts, who will present a talk titled “Bioengineering Methods for Water Quality and Site Remediation.”

Goldsmith will speak on the role of vegetation in the restoration and remediation of sites affected by common urban problems. Bioengineering is a century-old practice of applying living plants, often in conjunction with structural materials, usually for erosion control and land stabilization projects, with occasional uses for flood mitigation and avalanche control.

“In the modern landscape, bioengineering has begun to be used for containment and remediation in industrialized areas where there are high levels of soil and water contamination,” Goldsmith said. Recent projects undertaken by The Bioengineering Group Inc. range from the creation of wetland systems for the treatment of storm water to the modification of vegetation on river banks to enhance natural decontamination of ground water before it enters the river.

Ms. Goldsmith is currently involved in the research and feasibility analysis of bioengineering alternatives for restoring water quality, as well as use of genetically engineered plants for accelerated soil remediation.

“The series will be of value to those interested in all aspects of public and private environmental protection, regulation and restoration,” said Laderman, who organized the series. “Pioneers in ecological restoration have been invited to explore problems and solutions in this rapidly evolving area. Each session will address both general policy and specific case studies.”

Other speakers and their topics are:

– Jan. 28, “Mother Nature, Father Time: Chief Contractors in Wetland Design,” presented by William Mitsch, professor at Ohio State University.

– Feb. 4, “Site planning for Urban Stream Protection,” Lorraine Herson-Jones, environmental attorney and engineer with SAI in Virginia.

– Feb. 11, “Wetland Assessment: Conflicts Between Science and Public Policy,” John Kusler, director and founder of the Association of State Wetland Managers.

– Feb. 18, “How Much Change Is Too Much Change in a System That’s Constantly Changing?” with Steven Leitman, Apalachicola Basin Project.

– Feb. 25, “The Business of Environmental Restoration,” Donald Hey, The Wetlands Initiative, Chicago.

– March 4, “Extirpation Rates: Lake Okeechobee to the Keys,” George Gann, president of the Society for Ecological Restoration.

– March 11, “Reclaiming ‘Reclaimed’ Marshland,” Jahn Post, World Bank.

– April 1, “Adaptive Management: Revitalization of Delaware Bay Saltmarsh,” John Teal, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

– April 8, “Wetland Creation in Landscaped Environments,” Donald Schall, wildlife biologist, NSR Consulting, Brewster, Mass.

– April 15 and 22: Student reports and field trip.

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