This past week I spent three days at the American Ecological Engineering Society (AEES) conference in Asheville, NC. While not a typical hydrologic engineering conference, I learned a lot about the practical use of materials to assist in restoration in addition to many great talks about the complexity of water flow paths. The talks ranged from a discussion on the metals in rainwater collected from roofs to the use of a “brush toe” to assist in protecting a stream bank during a restoration installation.
As it was my first conference, I was not sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised at the diversity of research and the number of people that I’m connected to through my time at VT and/or ESF! While it was great to hear about other research occurring in ecological engineering, I was pleased with the conversations I had about the poster I presented as well!
My research involves using rare earth elements (REEs), applied to a soil from a stream bank, to look at sediment transport and resuspension during storm events. I’m working at the Stream Research, Education And Management (StREAM) Lab just east of Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus. At this point in my pursuit of an MS, I have deployed the sediment samplers that I will be using to monitor the sediment load and have found that they will collect a sufficient sample (avg. of 5 grams) for each storm event. The next steps will be to look at the adsorption of the REEs to the soil, as well as analyze for desorption in the stream water, so stay tuned for future updates!