Monday, 23 January 2012
Remediated and Non-Remediated Environmental Sampling: Classroom Laboratory for Environmental Assessment of Remediation
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
The New Jersey Pine Barrens contains a large number of abandoned cranberry bogs, many of which are being remediated in order to return the environment to its natural state. Investigations were conducted by a student-led meteorological team as part of a Meteorological Instrumentation course to determine how remediation affects the Pine Barrens region and its biosphere elements as a whole. The responses are important to better understand the implications to local forecasts when land use and land cover may be changing substantially over large areas. To accomplish this study a student-led team worked with an interdisciplinary group of scientists and students in the Kean University School of Environmental and Life Sciences to examine changes occurring in cranberry bogs in the Pine Barrens region. Three of these are former cranberry bogs under remediation and is a currently non-remediated bog. A non-remediated control site was selected in a highly urbanized region of northern New Jersey for comparative purposes. Field instruments were used to observe, measure, and record ambient air, water, soil, and insect species during field site visits during March and April 2011. Additional historical and micrometeorological data was acquired and utilized to further understand and describe the climate of the region, and GIS was used to spatially analyze observed field data in comparison to “expected” results. Analyses included soil pH, moisture levels, and determination of soil types, density, and their response to the local environmental conditions. Comparing expected and actual results provided evidence that the team's data collection and analysis methods had minimal sampling error in depicting significant variations within both remediated and non-remediated sites. Findings also suggested that remediation processes have been effective. An analysis of the weather patterns experienced during the field investigations indicated that remediation processes appear to be dependent on short term rainfall amounts, rates, and frequencies and thus suggest further investigations are in order. The project provided a comprehensive laboratory experience making use of the theory, design, and practical implementation of meteorological instrumentation in an integrated fashion across the earth and life sciences.