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Center for Restoration of Ecosystems and Watersheds


The Center for Restoration of Ecosystems and Watersheds (CREW) was founded at the University of Oklahoma, USA in late 2004. The mission of CREW is to perform comprehensive evaluations of environmental impact and to develop sustainable environmental remediation and restoration technologies based on ecological engineering techniques. Ecological engineering is the design and construction of sustainable ecosystems that integrate human society with its natural environment for the benefit of both. It uses a systems perspective based on the premise that sustainable solutions require working with natural ecological and biogeochemical processes and not against them. Ecologically engineered systems are designed to require less fossil fuel input, produce less pollution and represent cost-effective alternatives to traditional energy- and resource-intensive technologies.

CREW research is conducted on multiple scales (e.g., laboratory bench-top, microcosm, greenhouse and field) but specific ecosystem- and watershed-scale demonstrations are emphasized with a focus on solving mining-related environmental problems. Most projects focus on two general areas:

  • Watershed hydrobiogeochemistry including drainage-basin scale evaluations of pollution sources and mass loadings to and in streams and other receiving water bodies, leading to remediation and restoration planning that summarizes and prioritizes impacts for clean up.
  • Ecological engineering implementation projects, especially passive treatment systems (design, construction and evaluation of sustainable ecological systems for treatment of metal contaminated waters), land reclamation (native plant establishment and phytoremediation of degraded soils and wastes), applied fluvial geomorphology (natural channel design for stream restoration) and waste recycling (beneficial reuse of mining wastes construction products).

Current field Sites include the Tri-State Lead-Zinc Mining District of Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri, USA, the Arkoma Basin Coal Fields of eastern Oklahoma, USA and the Cerro Rico Silver-Lead-Tin-Zinc District near Potosi, Bolivia.

 



 





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