AEES Webinar Series
AEES is proud to host a series of webinars featuring leaders and up-and-coming stars in the field of ecological engineering.
December 1, 2021
Dr. Bill Mitsch
50 Years Since the First Earth Day: Solving Troubled Waters, Saving Wetlands, and Developing Ecological Engineering
Dr. Bill Mitsch received a B.S. in mechanical/industrial engineering from the University of Notre Dame, and an M.E. in environmental engineering and a Ph.D. in systems ecology under H.T. Odum, both degrees at the University of Florida. Dr. Mitsch currently services on the faculty at Florida Gulf Coast University. He is Eminent Scholar and Director of the Everglades Wetland Research Park and the Juliet C. Sproul Chair for Southwest Florida Habitat Restoration and Management.
He is a Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University where he taught for 26 years and is the founding director of the Olentangy River Wetland Research Park, now Ramsar Wetland of International Importance. His research and teaching have focused on wetland ecology and biogeochemistry, wetland creation and restoration, ecological engineering, ecosystem restoration, and ecosystem modeling.
Dr. Mitsch has authored or co-authored over 700 reports, published abstracts, books, and papers, including 5 editions of the popular textbook Wetlands. He is one of the founders of AEES and served as the first president of the organization in 2002. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief of the international journal Ecological Engineering. He served in that role from 1992-2017. Among other numerous awards, he was awarded the first Odom Award for Excellence in Ecological Engineering in 2018 by AEES.
February 16, 2022
Dr. Desiree Tullos
Education and Research on Resiliency of Ecological Restoration in Systems Undergoing Change
Dr. Desirée Tullos, P.E., D.WRE, M.ASCE is a professor in the Department of Biological & Ecological Engineering at Oregon State University in Corvallis. Desiree’s expertise is generally on water resources engineering, with an emphasis on sustainable river management. She is currently working on field and modeling studies of sediment dynamics of dam removal, fish use of turbulence around engineered log jams, reservoir operations under a warming climate, analysis of uncertainty in water resources modeling, flood forecasting and management in India, and mechanics of flow around dense vegetation.
Prior to arriving at OSU, she worked as an engineering consultant on river restoration and stormwater management projects and conducted research as a postdoc for the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. At Oregon State University, Desirée teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in Systems Analysis, Ecohydraulic Engineering, River Engineering, and NonPoint Source Pollution. She has served as a peer reviewer for a variety of journals and proposal review panels, chaired conference sessions, served on a National Research Council committee. She received NSF's Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award in 2009, earned her PE in 2011, and was a Fulbright Scholar in Taiwan in 2011.
Desirée received her BSCE from University of Tennessee, Master of Civil Engineering from North Carolina State University, and her Ph.D. in Biological Engineering from NCSU. Desirée achieved her D.WRE in spring 2014 and was recognized at the AAWRE 10th Anniversary Ceremony in Portland, Oregon.
April 20, 2022
Dr. Cully W. Hession&Dr. Tess Thompson
Virginia Tech’s StREAM Lab: Wicked Good for Research, Education & Outreach
The webinar Virginia Tech’s StREAM Lab: Wicked Good for Research, Education & Outreach featured a host of presenters from Virginia Tech led by two former AEES Presidents
Dr. Cully Hession - a professor and professional engineer in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech. He served as AEES president from 2009-2010. He has established a multi-department, multi-college research, outreach, and education program focused on understanding the fundamental physical processes of streams. His research emphases include channel structure and sediment dynamics, analysis and prediction of the influence of human activities on streams, evaluation of techniques for measuring and improving in-stream habitat, and development of technologies and strategies for successful stream restoration.
Dr. Tess Thompson – an associate Professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech. She served as AEES President from 2014-2015. The overarching goal of her research program is to protect and restore stream and wetland systems, with three major objectives: 1) to determine the fundamental processes involved in streambank erosion and to develop improved measurement devices and mathematical models to predict erosion rates; 2) to develop more accurate computational models and software for the design of wetland systems; and, 3) to develop methods to minimize the impact of urbanization on stream ecosystems.
The presentation included 6 others from their research team: Dr. Nicholas Polys, Nicholas Christensen, Laura Lehmann, Dr. Leighton Reid, Tom Saxton, and Elizabeth Prior.
September 21, 2022
Rafael Vázquez-Burney, PE
Maximizing Ecosystem Services with Infiltration Treatment Marshes
Rafael Vázquez-Burney, PE with Jacobs presented “Maximizing Ecosystem Services with Infiltration Treatment Marshes”.
Infiltration treatment marshes are constructed surface flow wetlands that have no outlet, where inflow is balanced with infiltration, precipitation, and evapotranspiration. The purpose of these systems is to maximize infiltration and gain additional benefits associated with augmenting groundwater resources, protecting water quality, and avoiding nutrient loads to receiving water bodies. Because nitrate reduction within wetland subsoils is intensified due to the high organic content and anaerobic conditions of the wetland subsurface, size requirements are often less onerous than surface flow wetlands. In locations where hydrogeologic conditions are adequate, infiltration treatment marshes provide an effective way to return clean water to the environment. These systems are becoming popular as an effective means for managing wastewater and stormwater, not only for the benefits associated with groundwater recharge and water quality, but also for the myriad of ecosystem services that wetlands provide. Ecological design principles are used to maximize ecosystem services including habitat creation to support biodiversity, carbon sequestration to curve climate change, and aesthetic services for recreational opportunities. This presentation will provide a background on infiltration treatment marshes, design principles used to maximize benefits and success, and two recent case studies.
The 4G Ranch Wetlands in Pasco County, FL is the world’s largest constructed infiltration treatment marsh system. Fifteen uniquely designed cells total 176 acres and receive up to 5 mgd of treated municipal wastewater effluent for groundwater recharge in an area impacted by groundwater drawdowns from public water supply.
January 18, 2023
Dr. Alexandros Stefanaskis
Nature-based Solutions for Circular Water Management: Working with Nature for a Sustainable Society
Alexandros Stefanaskis, M.Sc., Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at the Laboratory of Environmental Engineering Management in the School of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at the Technical University of Crete. Dr. Stefanaskis presented “Nature-based solutions for circular water management: working with nature for a sustainable society”.
Our societies today are facing multiple challenges such as continuous urbanization, climate change impacts, and aging infrastructure. Today we realize that the linear model we adopted to develop our economies and urban centres cannot cope with these challenges. Traditional grey infrastructure contributed to many of the existing environmental, social, and economic issues. This means that cities and communities need to change their current infrastructure, technological basis, and resource management. Circular economy appears as an alternative economic growth model to upgrade and expand the urban environment. It also dictates a change in mindset about how we design urban solutions in harmony with nature and promotes system thinking towards the development of new holistic and interdisciplinary solutions at all scales. In this frame, the emerging concept of Nature-based Solutions (NBS) appears as a new approach to develop urban areas that promote the circular use of resources making use of closed nutrient, water, and energy cycles by reusing waste rather than discarding it. This talk will discuss the NBS concept and how it is based on the circular approach and present various case studies from different parts of the world to demonstrate the feasibility of circular use of water and wastewater resources using NBS.
May 3, 2023
Dr. Trisha Moore
Ecological Engineering at the Watershed Scale: Examples from the Central Great Plains
Trisha Moore, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Peggy & Gary Edwards Cornerstone Teaching Scholar in the Biological & Agricultural Engineering Department at Kansas State University will be presenting “Ecological Engineering at the Watershed Scale: Examples from the Central Great Plains”.
Watersheds and their attendant waterbodies play a critical role in storing and moving water, materials, energy, and organisms across the landscape. As a result of these functions, watersheds underpin the delivery of essential ecosystem services, ranging from the provision of clean water and flood regulating services, to greenhouse gas regulation through carbon sequestration, to maintaining biodiversity and supporting broader human well-being. In many parts of the world, including the U.S. Central Great Plains, the services provided by watersheds and their waterbodies are imperiled due to historical and ongoing human modifications of the landscape in both rural and urban contexts. In this talk, I will present challenges to managing services provided by watersheds in this region, and the role of ecological engineers and their broader systems perspectives toward addressing these challenges. Case studies will be presented to illustrate how this systems perspective can be applied to frame watershed management in watersheds that are dominated by agricultural and/or urban land uses and differing community values. Lessons learned along the way, with applications to how we can think as and train ecological engineers, will also be discussed.
The next webinar is planned for Fall 2023. Please keep an eye out for announcement emails and information in the next edition of AEES Quarterly about this upcoming webinar.