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12th Annual Meeting

June 7-9, 2012
State University of New York

Hosted by the College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Syracuse, New York

Coupling Natural & Human Systems

We are excited to host the 12th annual American Ecological Engineering Society Meeting in Syracuse, New York. Our goal is to provide a forum for sharing ideas, information, and experiences among engineers, landscape architects, environmental scientists, natural resource managers, planners, and other professionals and students working to improve ecosystem health and global sustainability.

The conference focuses this year on a long-standing critical and central area of ecological engineering: Coupling Natural and Human Systems. We expect to have more than 200 presentations and posters focusing on ecological engineering applications in environmental restoration, wastewater and stormwater treatment, renewable energy, climate change adaptation, and sustainable food systems. The program will include invited speakers, roundtable discussions on emerging issues, posters and exhibits, field trips, and many networking opportunities. Student participation is a key element of the conference, with emphasis on design experiences and mentoring for our future ecological engineers.


Image courtesy of SUNY-ESF

Meeting Agenda

Thursday, June 7, 2012

8:30 am - 10:00 am: Check-in and Continental Breakfast

10:00 am - 12:00 pm: Concurrent Technical Session I

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm: Lunch

1:30 pm - 4:00 pm: Concurrent Technical Session II

4:00 pm - 5:30 pm: Poster & Exhibitor Session

5:30 pm: Reception


Friday, June 8, 2012

7:30 am - 8:00 am: Check-In and Continental Breakfast

8:00 am  - 12:00 pm: Concurrent Technical Session III

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: Lunch

1:00 pm - 2:45 pm: Concurrent Technical Session IV

2:45 pm - 6:00 pm: Field Tour

6:00 pm: Student Design Competition Presentation and Awards


Saturday, June 9, 2012

7:30 am - 8:00 am: Continental Breakfast

8:00 am - 11:00 am: Concurrent Technical Session V

11:00 am - 1:30 pm: General Session and AEES Business Meeting

1:30 pm: Leave for Overnight Camping Trip

Keynote Speakers

Pat Kangas.jpg

Dr. Pat Kangas

Dr. Pat Kangas is an Associate Professor of Natural Resources Management in the Department of Environmental Science and Technology at the University of Maryland, College Park.

He is the author of the foremost respected textbook in ecological engineering, Ecological Engineering: Principles and Practices, CRC Press. His research interests include systems ecology, the design and operation of constructed ecosystems, tropical conservation and sustainable development, and self organization in living and non-living systems.

Dr. Kangas has been involved with numerous ecological engineering projects domestically and internationally that include: greywater treatment at the Wee Wee Caye Marine Station in Belize, the Mars Greenhouse for studying biologically based wastewater treatment for the Mars Society's Desert Research Station in Utah, treatment of boat washwater in Baltimore Harbor and a floating lake restorer that was powered by a solar panel.


Dr. Charles A. S. Hall

Dr. Charles A. S. Hall is a Professor in the department of Environmental and Forest Biology at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry as well as an ESF Foundation Distinguished Professor. He has a BA in Biology from Colgate University, a MS in Zoology from The Pennsylvania State University and a PhD in Zoology from The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

His research interests have involved Systems Ecology: the application of integrative tools of science, including empirical simulation modeling, to the understanding and management of complex systems of nature and of people and nature.  Recently, his research focuses on energy which coalesces with EROI analysis and biophysical economics.  He has been featured in numerous publications and has coauthored a number of books.  His latest is entitled, Energy and the Wealth of Nations: Understanding the Biophysical Economy.

Dr. Hall has taught Systems Ecology and Geographical Modeling with his wife, Myrna, in Argentina, Bolivia, China, Costa Rica and Mexico.  He has also run workshops and seminar series in Italy, Finland and Sweden.


Chief Oren Lyons

Chief Oren Lyons is a Native American Earth keeper of the Wolf Clan of the Onondaga and Seneca Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy.  Born in 1930, he was raised in the culture and practices of the Iroquois on the Seneca and Onondaga reservations in Upstate New York. He graduated from the College of Fine Arts at Syracuse University in 1958. A lifelong lacrosse player, Oren was an All-American at SU where the Syracuse Orange men's lacrosse team went undefeated during his graduating year.

In recognition of his contributions over many years as a teacher of undergraduate and graduate students in the University at Buffalo, Dr. Lyons is listed as SUNY Distinguished Service Professor and Professor Emeritus of American Studies in the UB College of Arts and Sciences.

Chief Lyons and his clansmen are committed to care for the Earth, just as the Earth cares for them. They offer thanksgiving ceremonies for the sun, moon, fruits, vegetables, corn, etc. and they respect and honor the Earth and what it gives us all. He has a firm belief in the youth of today and was quoted as saying, "The young generation can influence their elders and can make them understand the environmental problems that are faced by us today. The youth can make them see that our environment is deteriorating day by day."

Field Tours

Solvay Settling Basins

Willow-based evapotranspiration (ET) landfill cover and constructed inland salt marsh on the Solvay Settling Basins, Camillus, NY. This research and demonstration project, sponsored by Honeywell International and conducted by the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) in cooperation with O’Brien & Gere, commenced in 2003 in order to:

  • Determine if shrub willow crops could be effectively grown in Solvay process waste that had been amended with organic material.

  • Demonstrate the performance of a willow-based evapotranspiration landfill cover system to reduce percolation.

  • Reduce percolation and restore threatened plant communities, such as an inland salt marsh (which is one of the rarest community types in the northern US), on sections of the Solvay settling basins.


This project is a unique demonstration of a private-public partnership to create an innovative approach utilizing shrub willow short-rotation woody crops to meet regulatory requirements for leachate control. The Solvay settling basins are a historical artifact of the former Solvay Process Company that produced synthetic soda ash for a century in the Syracuse area. Process residue, principally calcium chloride, was disposed as a slurry for dewatering in settling basins. These former settling basins cover over 600 hectares adjacent to Onondaga Lake and Ninemile Creek and are subject to closure in accordance with a consent order. Based on several years of greenhouse and field projects, environmental monitoring and hydrologic modeling by SUNY ESF, O’Brien and Gere and Honeywell, New York State and Honeywell agreed in 2010 that the design and development of a willow-based evapotranspiration landfill cover is an integral component of the site’s final closure.

The project commenced with greenhouse trials (2003) to identify clones of shrub willow that could tolerate these harsh conditions. The best clones were then deployed in field trials (2004-2008). A 10-acre area was planted with short-rotation willow crop in 2008, and was expanded by an additional 50 acres in 2011 and 2012. Field trials of other salt tolerant plants were initiated in 2005. In 2008 over 147 species of plants were established in a five acre area to initiate restoration of an inland salt marsh and other uncommon plant communities adapted to growing conditions presented by the Solvay waste.

Studies of this community have focused on hydrologic function, practices of habitat restoration and relationships between plant functional diversity and community dynamics.

Seneca Meadows Landfill

The Seneca Meadows, Inc. Landfill is the largest active landfill in New York, located about 45 miles east of Rochester, New York. Initially, AES’ role was to assist in finding wetland mitigation sites for the landfill expansion that was proposed to impact at least 70 acres of highly-altered wetlands. Upon visiting the site, AES soon found that most of the impacts to forested wetlands were not necessary and instead realized that hundreds of acres of forested wetlands could be enhanced as a part of the expansion project.

AES found an innovative way to restore 350 acres of these wetlands along with almost 600 acres of restoration of former drained agricultural lands and dewatered, forested wetlands as compensation for the 70 acres of impact to highly disturbed wetlands. This project received permits in July 2007 and ecological restoration will occur on approximately 1,200 acres that will be protected by a conservation easement to ensure that science-based management occurs on the land forever.

AES Contracting has installed 169,750 herbaceous plugs, 9,487 trees and shrubs, brushed 260 acres, and seeded 421 acres of newly created wetland and upland habitats with diverse, customized native species mixes, containing 30% locally-collected seed from onsite or from within a 5-mile radius of the project site and augmented with approved native seed materials. AES native nursery Taylor Creek Restoration Nurseries coordinated and conducted seed collections and processing from its Brodhead Wisconsin operation. AES Consulting continues to provide ecological oversight of the project.

Tully Valley Mudboils: Central New York's Mud Volcanos

A unique geological feature located in the Tully Valley south of Syracuse, the mud boils are short, volcano-like cones that discharge fine sand and silt, sometimes at a rate of 400 gallons per minute or more. These volcano-like features can dramatically alter the sediment load in Onondaga Creek, a tributary to Onondaga Lake. Remediation efforts aimed at reducing the sediment load and its impact on aquatic habitat are underway. Following a brief stop in the upper headwaters (off of Tully Farms Road) to view the creek before convergence with the mudboils, we will park in a nearby farm north of Otisco Road and walk to the site. Bill Kappel, a hydrologist with the United States Geological Survey (USGS), will discuss the unique history of the mudboils and efforts to reduce their impact on aquatic habitat. Long pants, raincoats and hiking boots are needed.

Sustainability Tour of SUNY-ESF Campus

Join Michael Kelleher, Director of Renewable Energy Systems at SUNY-ESF, for a tour of the current and upcoming campus sustainability projects. Projects include photovoltaic arrays, a green roof, a fuel cell, biodiesel and willow plantings. On a limited basis, tour participants can take a hard hat tour of the Gateway Building which is scheduled to open this fall and is seeking a LEED Platinum rating. The building will house a biomass combined heat and power unit, a green roof, a solar array and rain gardens.

ESF is unique among colleges and universities in that all of its educational and research programs are oriented toward natural resources, and toward the natural and designed environments and serves the mission of achieving a sustainable world.

Optional Tours

CNY Waterfall Tour

5:00 - 9:00 p.m., Wednesday, June 6


Join us for a tour of two local waterfalls - Pratts Falls and Chittenango Falls - as well as a handful of recreational activities at a unique glacial lake. The first stop will be at Pratts Falls which is an easy 20 minute hike to a 137 ft. tall cascade. After a short drive, the next stop will be at Chittenango Falls State Park which includes winding gorge trails that offer multiple views of a spectacular 167 ft. waterfall. The final destination is at Green Lakes State Park, which includes two glacial remnant lakes that are meromictic, meaning that they never mix, and are exceptionally deep with distinctive blue-green waters. Recreational activities include renting boats, swimming, golfing, or hiking around the scenic lake. It is recommended that attendees bring hiking shoes, a water bottle, and rain gear for this trip. Cost is $25 per person and includes: Transportation, Lunch, Park Entrance Fees



Wellesley Island Overnight Camping Trip

1:30 p.m., Saturday, June 9 - 4:30 p.m. (tentative), Sunday, June 10

Wellesley Island State Park is the largest camping complex in the thousand islands region on the St. Lawrence River which drains the Great Lakes. This island has beautiful scenery, nice beaches, hiking trails, and a nature center which includes forested and wetland ecosystems as well as a seasonal butterfly reserve. There is also a famous golf course on the island and boat rentals available for those interested. This camping trip will also include a tour of the SUNY-ESF Thousand Islands Biological Station, which will highlight some of the current and past research conducted at our institution. Some camping supplies such as tents and sleeping bags will be available, but they are limited, so it is recommended that you bring your own tent and/or sleeping bag if at all possible. Dress for the weather since rain is always possible in upstate New York. Cost is $50 per person and includes: Transportation, Park Entrance Fee, Dinner on Saturday Evening, Breakfast on Sunday Morning, Camping supplies (if needed), Tour of the Thousand Islands Biological Station



Beak & Skiff Winery Tour

2:00 - 4:30 p.m., Saturday, June 9

Beak & Skiff is an apple farm started in 1911, located near Lafayette, NY. It is an original wholesale apple business that grows, harvests, and sells apples. It also sells fresh cider and has a winery and distillery where they produce wine, hard cider and vodka from apples. The trip will consist of a tour of the apple orchards, cider production facility, vodka and hard cider still, and winery tasting room. Many of their products will be available for purchase. Cost is $10 per person and includes: Transportation, Tour of Beak & Skiff’s Winery and Distillery. A $5 registration fee will be added to your optional tour registration.



Attendees of the AEES 12th Annual Meeting

12th Annual Meeting Sponsors

Platinum Sponsor

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