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19th Annual Meeting

June 3-6, 2019
North Carolina State University

Hosted by the Biological & Agricultural Engineering Department & Cooperative Extension
Asheville, North Carolina

Enabling Future Generations to Solve Our Planet's Grand Challenges

We are excited to host the 19th annual American Ecological Engineering Society Meeting in Asheville, North Carolina. Located in North Carolina’s scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is known for its vibrant art scene, adventurous spirit, and commitment to environmental sustainability. This year’s meeting theme is “Enabling Future Generations to Solve Our Planet’s Grand Challenges”. With this meeting, we hope to better contextualize the realm of Ecological Engineering while looking for the next generation to use these emerging practices to solve the world’s grand challenges. The interplay between students, industry professionals, and academia will be a key element of the meeting. We are encouraging industry professionals to attend the meeting as sponsors and mentors and provide insights to entering the field.


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Meeting Agenda

Monday, June 3, 2019

4:00 pm - 6:00 pm: Sponsor Exhibit Booth and Poster Presentation Setup 

5:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Informal Gathering at Twisted Laurel (responsible for own dinner/drinks)



Tuesday, June 4, 2019

6:30 am - 8:00 am: Light Continental Breakfast and Registration


7:30 am - 8:00 am: Student Design Competition Meeting

8:00 am - 10:15 am: Opening Plenary Session

  • Conference Welcome, Trisha Moore, AEES President

  • Challenges for a Sustainable Future: Public Engagement is Key, Julie Mayfield

  • History and Future of Ecological Engineering, William Mitsch

  • Be Open. Be Positive. Be Courageous, Sepideh Saidi

  • Dreams to Reality: Recent Experiences Implementing Ecological Engineering Projects, Rafael Vazquez-Burney

10:15 am - 10:45 am: Break

10:45 am - 12:00 pm: Concurrent Technical Sessions

  • Advancing Ecological Engineering Technology

  • Treatment Wetlands

  • Ecological Engineering in Food Production

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm: Lunch (Provided)

1:00 pm - 2:15 pm: Concurrent Technical Sessions

  • Stream Corridor Restoration I

  • Constructed Wetlands

  • Stormwater and Green Infrastructure I

2:15 pm - 2:30 pm: Break

2:30 pm - 3:45 pm: Concurrent Technical Sessions

  • Ecological Function of Stream Restoration

  • Wetland Hydrology

  • Coastal Ecosystems

3:45 pm - 4:00 pm: Break

4:00 pm - 5:15 pm: Concurrent Technical Sessions

  • Ecology of the Built Environment

  • Student Design Competition Meeting

  • Stormwater and Green Infrastructure II

5:15 pm - 5:30 pm: Break

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm: Career Fair and Poster Presentation Reception

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

6:30 am - 8:00 am: Light Breakfast

8:00 am - 9:15 am: Concurrent Technical Sessions

  • Stream Corridor Restoration II

  • Lake & Reservoir Water Quality

  • Stormwater & Green Infrastructure III

9:15 am - 9:30 am: Break

9:30 am - 10:45 am: Concurrent Technical Sessions

  • Watershed Approaches

  • Water Quality

  • Stormwater - Bioretention

10:45 am - 11:00 am: Break

11:00 am - 12:00 pm: Concurrent Technical Sessions

  • Stream Corridor Restoration III

  • Special Session - Large-Scale Wetland Restoration

  • Value Added Products

12:00 pm - 1:15 pm: Lunch (Provided)

1:30 pm - 5:30 pm: Local Field Tours

  • 1:30 pm - 5:30 pm: Field Tour #1 - Ochlawaha Bog (Farmland to Wetland Restoration)

  • 2:00 pm - 5:30 pm: Field Tour #2 - North Carolina Arboretum (Stormwater Installations, Stream Restoration, and Botanical Gardens)

  • 2:30 pm - 5:30 pm: Field Tour #3 - UNC Asheville Sustainability Initiatives (Stormwater Installations, Pocket Wetlands, Green Roofs, and Gardens)

  • 2:45 pm - 5:30 pm: Field Tour #4 - New Belgium Brewery (Stormwater Installations and Stream Restoration)

5:45 pm - 9:00 pm: Dinner Reception at Smoky Park Supper Club Boathouse

Thursday, June 6, 2019

6:30 am - 8:00 am: Light Breakfast


8:00 am - 9:15 am: Concurrent Technical Sessions

  • Stream Restoration - Functional Assessment

  • Ecological Engineering Curriculum

  • Emerging Technology & Methods

9:15 am - 9:30 am: Break

9:30 am - 11:15 am: Closing Plenary Session - Ecological Engineering Perspectives

  • Defining Ecological Engineering Through Research Applications, Jay Martin

  • Applications and Challenges for Ecological Engineering Down Under, An Australian Perspective, Glenn Dale

  • Beyond Growth: Economics as if the Planet Matters, Mark Brown

  • Closing Remarks, Student Poster Awards, and Student Design Competition Awards

11:15 am - 12:45 pm: Lunch (Provided) and AEES Business Meeting

1:00 pm - 5:00 pm: Post Meeting Rafting Tour (Optional - Additional Fees Apply)

Detailed Agenda with Technical Sessions

Plenary Speakers


Rafael Vezques-Burney | Keynote Speaker

Rafael is a Professional Engineer and Principal Technologist with Jacobs Engineering in Tampa, FL with 13 years of experience specializing in Natural Treatment Systems for wastewater and stormwater. He attended the University of North Carolina at Asheville and North Carolina State University where he earned a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Engineering and Masters in Civil Engineering with a focus in wastewater treatment, water resources, and numerical modeling of natural systems. Since joining CH2M (now Jacobs) in 2006, he has led numerous projects related to the study, design, permitting, and construction of treatment wetlands. His primary interest is in research and design to improve wetland performance and maximize the benefits and uses of his projects by incorporating ecological engineering principles.


Julie Mayfield

Julie Mayfield was elected to Asheville City Council in November 2015 and is also co-director of MountainTrue, a regional environmental advocacy organization. Her primary areas of advocacy are transportation, clean energy, affordable housing, and land use. She received her undergraduate degree from Davidson College and her law degree from Emory University School of Law.


Sepideh Saidi, PE

Sepi Saidi is a visionary leader who founded SEPI Engineering & Construction in 2001 and has led the company to become a premier full service civil, environmental planning, and construction management engineering firm in the Southeast. The firm’s awards include Fast 50 firm by Triangle Business Journal, Zweig White Hot Firm List, Inc. 5000, and being ranked as a Top 500 Design Firm on the Engineering News-Record’s 2017 list. Incorporating the firm’s core values, SEPI is dedicated to providing a unique work space and environment for its employees to plan, design, build, and give back to the communities in which we serve. With a dedicated passion to support organizations that align with the health, safety, and well-being of the families in our communities, Ms. Saidi and the firm are proud to be champions of community service.

A Professional Engineer and alumna of North Carolina State University, with degrees in Civil and Agricultural Engineering, Ms. Saidi has been named by the Triangle Business Journal as the 2018 Businessperson of the Year, was recently selected as a Charlotte Business Journal 2018 Women in Business Achievement Award winner, and has been inducted into the North Carolina Business Hall of Fame.


Dr. Bill Mitsch

Bill Mitsch has been a university professor specializing in wetland and aquatic biogeochemistry and ecological engineering for 44 years at 4 universities in the USA. He is Past President of the Society of Wetland Scientists and American Ecological Engineering Society, the latter which he founded. He is currently Eminent Scholar and Director, Everglades Wetland Research Park, and Juliet C. Sproul Chair for Southwest Florida Habitat Restoration at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) in Naples Florida where he has been since 2012. He received a B.S. in 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 at the University of Florida. Before his current position at FGCU he taught for 26 years as Distinguished Professor of Environmental Science and continues as Founding Director of the Olentangy River Wetland Research Park at The Ohio State University. He also taught at Illinois Institute of Technology and University of Louisville. He currently holds faculty appointments at University of South Florida, University of Florida, and The Ohio State University.

His over 700 publications include 5 editions of the standard textbook/reference book Wetlands and two books introducing the principles and practice of ecological engineering. He founded in 1992 and served for 25 years as editor-in-chief of the international journal Ecological Engineering.  He has given 400 invited presentations around the world on wetlands, ecological engineering and restoration and related topics. including 22 invited talks around the USA and world in 2018. He has also been awarded four Fulbright scholarships for research and teaching in his career in Denmark, Botswana, Poland, and, in 2019, at Bangor University in Wales (UK).

Field Trips


Ochlawaha Bog

Southern Appalachian Bogs are a rare ecosystem, with only a few hundred acres thought to be remaining.  The Ochlawaha Bog was restored in 2011 from farmland just south of Asheville with the goal of re-creating seepage hydrology and habitat for the endangered bunched arrowhead plant, Sagittaria fasciculata) thought to only exist in two counties in the entire world.  It is also the new home for over 30 species of game birds.   Join us for a tour of this 30-acre restoration and learn about what it takes to coordinate, design, and implement this type of ecological restoration project. Pictures sourced from

Field Tour 2.jpg

North Carolina Arboretum

The North Carolina Arboretum is a 434-acre public garden that offers some of the most beautiful, botanically diverse plants in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. The North Carolina Arboretum is a 434-acre public garden that offers some of the most beautiful, botanically diverse plants in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Ten years later: How did stormwater control practices and a short, restored reach of stream hold up? Join us for a tour of SCM practices and the stream reach at The North Carolina Arboretum. Lessons learned during the design process and subsequent adaptive management will be at the heart of the discussions. Participants will have time to tour the arboretum. Pictures sourced from The NC Arboretum and Clean Water Management Fund.

Field Tour 3.png
Field Tour 3.png

UNC Asheville Sustainability Initiatives

Tour the UNC-Asheville Campus to learn about initiatives that create a vibrant sustainability culture that welcomes student, staff, faculty and community involvement. From our classes to our student organizations, our campus facilities to our beautiful edible gardens, UNC Asheville offers a wide range of opportunities for exploring and enhancing our relationship with the planet and its living systems. Sustainability is also a core value of UNC Asheville’s strategic plan, which solidifies our commitment to educating students about all dimensions of sustainability by integrating environmental literacy throughout the curriculum and modeling sustainable campus practices. Sustainability initiatives that are likely to be featured on this tour are biorention ponds, stormwater and pocket wetlands, rain gardens, vegetated roofs, botanical and edible gardens, and bee hotels. To learn more about UNC Asheville’s Sustainability Efforts, visit their website: Pictures sourced from UNC Asheville.

Field Tour 4.jpg

New Belgium Stream Restoration, Stormwater, and Low-Impact Development

This tour will include a visit to the New Belgium Brewery where participants will be able to learn about the stream restoration enhancements, low-impact development, stormwater management, and native plant community establishment efforts at and around the Brewery. To learn more about the Brewery’s sustainability efforts, visit their website: sourced from Barbara Doll and

Post-Meeting Rafting Excursion


French Broad Rafting – Calm Water Trip

French Broad Adventures will be guiding a group of rafters down a calm part of the French Broad river, rain or shine. The trip will run from Redmon Dam to Barnard Park and will take roughly 3 hours. This part of the river has easy Class I-II rapids. Rafters will be able to enjoy a calm and relaxing experience on the river while viewing various native plants and animals as well at bond with fellow rafters. This excursion is an additional cost to the overall meeting and will be paid through the French Broad Adventures’ payment portal. The cost is $35. Rafters should wear closed-toed shoes that will not fall off in the water and should expect to get a little wet. The rafting company has plenty of room for people to privately change clothes after the trip and strongly recommend bringing a dry change of clothes with you.

Those interested in participating in the post-meeting rafting excursion should follow the link provided in the meeting registration confirmation email to reserve a seat. Further instructions will be provided on how to complete the registration and payment process. (Pictures sourced from French Broad Adventures)


Informal Gathering at Twisted Laurel | June 3rd | 6:00-9:00 pm
After getting settled into your hotel, join us for food and drinks at Twisted Laurel. Enjoy beers from local breweries while you catch up with colleagues from across the country.

Career Fair and Poster Presentation Reception | June 4th | 5:30-7:00 pm
Meet in the ballroom lobby to hear students present their posters. Network with exhibitors while enjoying light hor d'oeuvres and beer or wine (don't forget your drink tickets). Students, bring your resumes and speak with potential employers about current career opportunities. 

Dinner Reception at Smoky Park Supper Club Boathouse | June 5th | 6:30-8:00 pm
Enjoy a delicious barbeque dinner from 12 Bones BBQ, live music, and lawn games at Smoky Park. This fun social is one event you do not want to miss. Beer and wine will be served with drink tickets. Transporation will be provided to and from the Renaissance Hotel.

19th Annual Meeting Sponsors

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