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Martin Marietta Sodyeco site, Charlotte, NC
EPA Region 4 awarded an Excellence in Site Reuse Award on August 7 to officials who redeveloped the Martin Marietta Sodyeco Superfund site near Mount Holly, NC. The site was redeveloped into ReVenture Park, the region's first eco-industrial park. Two Green Tech businesses operating in the ReVenture Park, FC Organics and Graceful Roots, developing and testing beneficial new soil amendments, including one made from charcoal from an on-site energy unit mixed with food waste. The soil amendments will be used to create an experimental "living wall" at ReVenture Park.
Soil Amendment Applications and Mine Site Restoration Impacts on Soil Ecosystem Services Archived Webinar Now Available!
The complete archive of the May 7, 2014 CLU-IN mining webinar on Soil Amendment Applications and Mine Site Restoration Impacts on Soil Ecosystem Services is now available. The webinar focused on the use of soil amendments at mining sites, the impact of soil restoration at mine sites on ecosystem function and services, and deliberate decision-making in site restoration that benefits the whole ecosystem.
The complete archive of a CLU-IN mining webinar on Using Biosolids and Coal Combustion Products for Soil Remediation at Mining Sites, held on July 24, 2014, also is available. This webinar focused on utilizing biosolids as a soil amendment for mined land reclamation, remediation and revegetation of phytotoxic materials with biosolids and lime, and potentials and issues for use of coal combustion residuals in mined land reclamation.
Visit the CLU-IN Archived Internet Seminars & Podcasts page to view hundreds of other archived internet seminars available for free download and replay.
Land Application of Municipal Biosolids
In June 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey created a webpage focused on the land application of municipal biosolids. The application of municipal biosolids on land may be a widespread source of emerging contaminants to surface and ground water. The USGS scientists and their collaborators are conducting projects including: the development of analytical methods for characterizing the potential emerging contaminants in biosolids-derived composts and other products; sampling biosolids to characterize the occurrence of emerging contaminants; an investigation to assess the ability of a range of wastewater treatment technologies to remove selected pharmaceuticals and other emerging contaminants from municipal sewage; and an investigation to determine the persistence and vertical transport in the soil zone of emerging contaminants derived from biosolids applied to the land surface.
ASA, CSSA, & SSSA International Annual Meeting: November 2-5, 2014 in Long Beach, CA
The American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America will host more than 4,000 scientists, professionals, educators, and students at the 2014 International Annual Meeting, "Grand Challenges—Great Solutions."
Contaminant Uptake in Food Crops grown on Brownfield Sites: September 26, 2014
This webinar will highlight the latest Kansas State University research data on contaminant uptake by food crops grown on brownfields across the U.S. sites slated for community gardens. Three urban community garden sites located in Kansas City, Missouri; Tacoma, WA; and Indianapolis, IN will be used as examples.
Application Call for Train the Trainer Webinar Series
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the United States Botanic Garden are calling for applications for the new Landscape For Life™ Train the Trainer webinar series offered free of charge this fall 2014. Bring Landscape For Life to your community by becoming a trainer. Ideal for botanic garden and public horticulture educators, master gardeners, master naturalists, garden clubs, landscape architects/designers and those interested in teaching sustainable gardening practices. The five part webinar series takes place on Tuesdays 3:00 p.m. — 5:00 p.m. central time on Oct 21, Oct 28, & Nov 4, Nov. 11, Nov 18, 2014. For more information and to apply visit http://landscapeforlife.org/train-the-trainer-webinar-series/.
Ecosystem Services EcoTools Page Now Live!
We are pleased to announce EcoTools has grown. The site now features a new page dedicated to information and resources on Ecosystem Services. Check it out today!
Why restore disturbed or contaminated lands?
Habitat preservation is key to an ecosystem's health and well-being, and there is a growing awareness that restoration is essential to recover ecosystems that have been degraded or destroyed. Furthermore, contaminated or disturbed sites that have been restored are once again available for public use and enjoyment
The public's interest in the renewal of natural ecosystems has grown steadily during the past few decades. EPA's Superfund Redevelopment Program assists communities in returning some of the nation's worst hazardous waste sites to safe and productive uses. While the Agency works to protect human health and the environment, EPA also works with communities and other partners to consider future uses for restored Superfund sites. Many sites are now being used as parkland, agricultural land, residences and commercial space.
Ecological reuse can be incorporated into site remediation plans for Superfund sites because it provides habitat for wildlife and is not considered beautification or enhancement. Returning contaminated sites to beneficial use not only allows local communities to reclaim lost land – it can also lead to increased property values, a higher tax base, and protected open space. In addition, when local interests have a stake in the revitalized property, the chances are greater for continued productive use.
Benefits of Ecological Land Reuse
- Provides wildlife habitat
- Sequesters carbon
- Remediates and beneficially reuses damaged lands
- Improves property values
- Improves image
- Reduces wind and water erosion of contaminants
- Protects water resources
- Creates green spaces and corridors
- Improves the community by removing stigma associated with prior waste sites
Why are ecosystems important to ecological land reuse?
Project managers seeking to return a contaminated site to a safe and productive use should look not only to the future of the site; but also consider its past structure and function by looking at the site as an ecosystem – a dynamic environment of living organisms and non-living matter intricately connected by energy and nutrient flows.
Many reuse projects focus solely on manipulating certain elements, such as soil, vegetation, and hydrology, with little attention paid to the links between these and the broader landscape and biosphere. Such actions may not necessarily address all of the ecosystem's needs. Other living organisms, such as insects, wildlife, and microorganisms also form an integral part of the system and must be accounted for, if possible, for the system to flourish. For example: many of the native flowering plant species in the United States rely on bees, hummingbirds or other pollinators to help them reproduce and disperse across the landscape. The flowers and the hummingbird have a symbiotic relationship that benefits them both – the flower produces nectar that the hummingbird feeds on, and the hummingbird carries pollen from one flower to the next, allowing it to reproduce. If a degraded site is repopulated with native wildflowers, but no pollinators are introduced into the site, the native plants may die out and be replaced by invasive species. In order to maintain desired levels of native plant diversity, the restoration and reuse process therefore must ensure that an adequate level of pollinator species is present.
Ecosystem-based reuse can be an important aspect of many remediation projects. If the goal is to return a site to a close approximation of its natural, pre-disturbance state, then an ecosystem-based approach is essential. This approach will ensure that the newly restored site once again becomes an integral part of its environment. More information can be found here: Climate Change and Ecosystems.