Naeth Team - Research

My research program has the following foci, with specific graduate student projects on the next page.

 

Slope-Long-Shot Reclamation With Waste And Novel Products: Organic amendments to enhance degraded soils have limited availability, thus industry, agriculture and municipal by products can be a cost effective option for reclamation and industry. For example, processed kimberlite, tailings, limestone kiln dust, lake sediment, sewage sludge, municipal solid waste and drywall compost can provide organic matter and nutrients and increase porosity and water and nutrient retention. Novel products such as hydrogels and condensed organic matter pellets or powders can also be used. Research focuses on reclamation potential of these products.
Looking Over Oil Sands Reclamation: Bitumen extraction from oil sands produces large amounts of waste which is deposited in tailings ponds. Extraction involves removing surface soil materials like topsoil, mineral fines and glacial till, collectively called overburden. Each of these substrates requires reclamation to restore hydrology, soil and vegetation to equivalent land capability. Greenhouse and field research focuses on soil-plant interactions including soil reclamation to sustain plant growth and potential of vegetation establishment to ameliorate soil physical and chemical properties. Research on LFH mineral soil mix and woody debris to facilitate plant community is being conducted.
Looking Over Oil And Gas Industry Reclamation: Various disturbances in the oil and gas industry, including pipelines and well sites and their associated facilities are being researched to develop optimal reclamation and revegetation practices. Topics of research include effectiveness of natural recovery and seeding, effect of grazing during early reclamation years, impact of annual and perennial weed species and off set distances for rare plant species. Research foci are on newly developed and older historical sites to determine soil and plant community development in early successional stages and over the longer term.
Slope-Long-Shot National Parks Restoration: Since establishment over 100 years ago, National Park lands in Canada have been disturbed by historical uses, resource extraction, road development and recreation. Disturbances include landfills, snow dumping areas for highway crews, wood lots for unloading and bucking logs and eroded slopes in recreation areas. Restoration must be ecologically sensitive and involves identifying degraded conditions, contaminant remediation, soil construction with organic and locally produced amendments and revegetation with diverse native seed mixes, plugs and transplanted vegetation to conditions similar to undisturbed communities.
small-pit Quarry And Pit Reclamation: Pit and quarry disturbances create inhospitable environments that require soil building and revegetation. Reclamation techniques include use of locally available soil amendments, native seed mixes, erosion control and integrated pest and wildlife management during sensitive reclamation stages. Soil amendments can be organic such as compost, biosolids, LFH mineral soil mix, sawdust, manure, hay, straw, wood shavings; mineral materials such as lake sediment, topsoil, clean fill; and inorganic such as fertilizer, sulfur. Revegetation incorporates diverse seed mixes, transplanting and natural recovery.
Bonnie's Plots Block 2 Sept Diamond Mine Reclamation: Reclamation of diamond mines focuses on disturbed areas such as gravel roads, gravel pads, waste rock, till stockpiles and processed kimberlite containment facilities. Reclamation involves reestablishment of soil processes and development of native plant communities including a diversity of shrub, grass, forb and bryophyte species. The greatest obstacles are lack of soil water, water holding capacity, available organic matter following mining and information on propagation techniques for arctic plant species. Our greenhouse and field research investigates uses of soil amendments and native plant materials.
Coal and Metal Mine Coal And Metal Mine Reclamation: Coal and metal open pit mining can create large landscape scale disturbances. Reclamation involves soil, vegetation and hydrologic development for a variety of end land uses. Various practices, including natural recovery, bioengineering, anthroposol construction, planting techniques and end pit lake community development, are the focus of our research. On many sites, such as those in the Alberta parkland, forage quality of vegetation for cattle grazing must be addressed, on other sites, such as those in Nova Scotia, ameliorating severe impacts of acid mine drainage is the main challenge.
SmoothBromeCrossConservation Invasive Plant Ecology And Management: Non native plants introduced accidentally or intentionally for reclamation or agriculture can dominate a site and encroach on adjacent native plant communities. These species can be invasive and negatively impact the composition, structure and function of native ecosystems. Effective methods to manage the species can include mowing, burning, herbicide application, steaming, and changes in land management practices. Successful management usually requires establishment of a self sustaining native vegetation cover to prevent reestablishment or further invasion.
Indian Paintbrush Microbiology Of Reclaimed Sites: Mycorrhizal associations and other bacterial and fungal associations can be important in reclamation to establish native plant species. The role and magnitude of importance of these associations is being addressed for revegetation with various native plant species. Such associations are being studied at reclamation projects in difficult environments such as diamond kimberlite tailings in the arctic and limestone quarries in the mountains and tropics. Additions of native soil and LFH mineral soil mix may provide some of the necessary microorganisms for a more rapid restoration.

Birch Mountain

Contaminated Soil Remediation: Industrial activities often result in soil contamination. Some common contaminants are diesel fuel, crude oil, BTEX and metals. Conventional remediation methods are costly and involve soil excavation and landfilling. Bioremediation relies on natural soil microbial populations to degrade contaminants and can be employed in situ or ex situ. Soil is inoculated or microbial populations enhanced with soil amendments and aeration. Establishment of vegetation can accelerate bioremediation by providing nutrients for microorganisms. Controlled greenhouse and field scale experiments are being conducted.

Floor Phosphogy

Other Reclamation Research: Various other anthropogenic and natural disturbances, of large and small spatial extents, are part of our research program, such as reclamation of phosphogypsum stacks for decommissioning. Research has soils and vegetation components, with hydrologic and microbiological links. Our work addresses early genesis of disturbed systems and long term trajectories to determine plant community and soil development. Areas of focus include Bioengineering, phytoremediation, development of microsites and their role in revegetation, seed germination enhancement and development of anthroposols.