Civil and Environmental Consultants Inc.

Baldwin, PA, United States

Civil and Environmental Consultants Inc.

Baldwin, PA, United States

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Kansou K.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Nuttle T.,Indiana University of Pennsylvania | Nuttle T.,Civil and Environmental Consultants Inc. | Farnsworth K.,Indiana University of Pennsylvania | Bredeweg B.,University of Amsterdam
Ecological Informatics | Year: 2013

We present a qualitative reasoning model of how plant colonization of land during the mid Paleozoic era (450-300. million years ago) altered the long-term carbon cycle resulting in a dramatic decrease in global atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. This model is aimed at facilitating learning and communication about how interactions between biological and geological processes drove system behavior. The model is developed in three submodels of the main system components, namely how competition for limited land habitat drove natural selection for increasing adaptations to life on land; how these adaptations resulted in increased formation of organic-rich sedimentary rocks (coal); and how these adaptations altered weathering of calcium and magnesium silicate rocks, resulting in increased deposition of inorganic carbonates in oceans. These separate submodels are then assembled to derive the full dynamic model of plant macroevolution, colonization of land, and plummeting carbon dioxide levels that occurred during the mid Paleozoic. The qualitative reasoning framework supports explicit representation of causal feedbacks - as with previously developed systems analysis models - but also supports simulation of system dynamics arising from the configuration of entities in the system. The ability of qualitative reasoning to provide causal accounts (explanations) of why certain phenomena occurred and when, is a powerful advantage over numerical simulation such as the complex GEOCARB models, where explanation must be left to interpretation by experts. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Nuttle T.,Indiana University of Pennsylvania | Nuttle T.,Civil and Environmental Consultants Inc. | Royo A.A.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Adams M.B.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Carson W.P.,University of Pittsburgh
Ecological Monographs | Year: 2013

Eastern deciduous forests are changing in species composition and diversity outside of classical successional trajectories. Three disturbance mechanisms appear central to this phenomenon: fire frequency is reduced, canopy gaps are smaller, and browsers are more abundant. Which factor is most responsible is a matter of great debate and remains unclear, at least partly because few studies have simultaneously investigated more than one process. We conducted a large-scale experiment in mesophytic forests of West Virginia, USA, to test three key hypotheses: (1) the fire hypothesis (fire suppression limits diversity to few shade-tolerant, fire-intolerant species that replace and suppress many fire-tolerant species); (2) the gap hypothesis (small gaps typical of today's forests promote dominance of a few shade-tolerant species); and (3) the browsing hypothesis (overbrowsing by deer limits diversity to a few unpalatable species). We tested these hypotheses using a factorial experiment that manipulated surface fire, large canopy gap formation (gap size; 255 m 2), and browsing by deer, and we followed the fates of >28 000 seedlings and saplings for five years. Understory tree communities in control plots were dominated (up to 90%) by Fagus grandifolia, averaging little more than two species, whereas overstories were diverse, with 10-15 species. Fire, large canopy gaps, and browsing all dramatically affected understory composition. However, our findings challenge views that fire and large canopy gaps can maintain or promote diversity, because browsers reduced the benefits of gaps and created depauperate understories following fire. Consequently, two major disturbances that once promoted tree diversity no longer do so because of browsing. Our findings appear to reconcile equivocal views on the role of fire and gaps. If browsers are abundant, these two disturbances either depress diversity or are less effective. Alternatively, with browsers absent, these disturbances promote diversity (three- to fivefold). Our results apply to large portions of eastern North America where deer are overabundant, and we provide compelling experimental evidence that historical disturbance regimes in combination with low browsing regimes typical of pre-European settlement forests could maintain high tree species diversity. However, restoring disturbances without controlling browsing may be counterproductive. © 2013 by the Ecological Society of America.


Rupakheti P.,Syracuse University | Bhatia S.K.,Syracuse University | Jackson E.K.,Civil and Environmental Consultants Inc.
Geotechnical Special Publication | Year: 2016

The aim of this study is to investigate effective and sustainable measures to contain heavy metal contaminated sediments inside a geotextile tube during the dewatering process. A series of batch adsorption and pressure filtration tests (PFT) evaluated the efficacy of cellulosic materials (kraft pulp, jute fibers, and peanut hulls) on adsorption of selected heavy metals (Pb2+, Cu2+, Zn2+, and Cd2+) and the dewatering performance inside a geotextile tube. The batch adsorption tests conducted on two soils, sandy and silty in composition (Tully sands and Tully fines) with metal ions show that they have a very high affinity towards Pb and Cu compared to Cd and Zn. The maximum adsorption capacity as calculated from the batch adsorption of Tully sand to Pb and Cu are 33.12 and 6.54 mg/g, respectively. The Tully fines had even higher adsorption capacities of 57.3 mg/g Pb and 9.48 mg/g Cu. The concentration of filtrate collected from PFT, measured using ICP OES (inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry), also shows that Tully fines were able to adsorb 99% Pb and Cu, 88% Cd, and 83% Zn. Meanwhile, Tully sand adsorbed 96% Pb, 90% Cu, 81% Cd, and 76% Zn. Although significant adsorption was accomplished by both soils rich in reactive minerals illite, chlorite, and calcite, the addition of cellulosic materials provided additional benefits in dewatering. Among three cellulosic materials, the addition of jute fibers significantly reduced the water content of the Tully sand filter cake by 44%. Since kraft pulp has a tendency to adsorb water and swell, water content as high as 40% was measured. The water content did not change significantly with the use of peanut hulls. All the cellulosic materials were successful in improving the overall turbidity of the filtrate. A drop in turbidity of more than 60-80% was observed with the addition of jute fibers. © ASCE.


Hartman K.J.,West Virginia University | Logan M.N.,Civil and Environmental Consultants Inc.
Northeastern Naturalist | Year: 2010

Salvelinus fontinalis (Brook Trout) are simultaneously the subject of eradication efforts in the western US and restoration efforts in the East. Thus, knowledge of their habitat requirements are important to management as well as ecological understanding of the species. Previous studies have evaluated habitat use and movement of established, resident Brook Trout, but none had looked at how transplanted Brook Trout respond in novel environments, nor has habitat selection been evaluated under different flow regimes that may detect differential use of primary habitat. We implanted wild Brook Trout with radio tags and tracked their movement for approximately 30 days during late spring 2002 and early spring 2003 in a central Appalachian stream. The hypotheses tested were: (1) there is no difference between habitat used by novel Brook Trout and available habitat, and (2) stream discharge levels have no effect on Brook Trout habitat selection. The daily tracking of fish in this study also permitted us to quantify fish movement. Brook Trout showed a preference for pool habitatsusing them in greater proportion than availabilityas well as a preference for large woody debris as cover. Overall, we found stream discharge did not affect habitat use. However, under low discharge levels, a negative relationship between discharge and pool use was detected, suggesting restriction to pool habitats under low flows. Home ranges of Brook Trout derived from radio telemetry averaged 450 msimilar to values obtained in other Appalachian studies employing mark-and-recapture methods. A comparison of our results with those of other studies suggests that Brook Trout released into novel environments move and select habitat similar to fish that have local knowledge of the environment.


Wheatall L.,Indiana University of Pennsylvania | Nuttle T.,Indiana University of Pennsylvania | Nuttle T.,Civil and Environmental Consultants Inc. | Yerger E.,Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Conservation Biology | Year: 2013

Externally feeding phytophagous insect larvae (i.e., caterpillars, here, larval Lepidoptera and sawflies, Hymenoptera: Symphyta) are important canopy herbivores and prey resources in temperate deciduous forests. However, composition of forest trees has changed dramatically in the eastern United States since 1900. In particular, browsing by high densities of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) has resulted in forests dominated by browse-tolerant species, such as black cherry (Prunus serotina), and greatly reduced relative abundance of other tree species, notably pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica) and birches (Betula spp.). To quantify effects of these changes on caterpillars, we sampled caterpillars from 960 branch tips of the 8 tree species that comprise 95% of trees in Allegheny hardwood forests: red maple (Acer rubrum), striped maple (Acer pensylvanicum), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), sweet birch (Betula lenta), yellow birch (Betula allegheniensis), American beech (Fagus grandifolia), black cherry, and pin cherry. We collected 547 caterpillar specimens that belonged to 66 Lepidoptera and 10 Hymenoptera species. Caterpillar density, species richness, and community composition differed significantly among tree species sampled. Pin cherry, nearly eliminated at high deer density, had the highest density and diversity of caterpillars. Pin cherry shared a common caterpillar community with black cherry, which was distinct from those of other tree hosts. As high deer density continues to replace diverse forests of cherries, maples, birches, and beech with monodominant stands of black cherry, up to 66% of caterpillar species may be eliminated. Hence, deer-induced changes in forest vegetation are likely to ricochet back up forest food webs and therefore negatively affect species that depend on caterpillars and moths for food and pollination. © 2013 Society for Conservation Biology.


Kanouff P.A.,Civil and Environmental Consultants Inc.
Shale Energy Engineering 2014: Technical Challenges, Environmental Issues, and Public Policy - Proceedings of the 2014 Shale Energy Engineering Conference | Year: 2014

Pipelines are routinely installed under streams and wetlands, resulting in temporary impacts to these resources. Section 404 of the Clean Water Act requires impacted streams, wetlands, and other waterbodies to be either restored or replaced. However, if the streams and wetlands are not restored correctly, the impacts can be permanent. The success of stream and wetland restoration is primarily dependent on returning the disturbed areas to pre-existing conditions and contours, which can be readily verified by monitoring construction activities or conducting post-construction monitoring. Recently, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) added a special permit condition to several linear projects in Pennsylvania requiring post-construction monitoring of restored streams and wetlands to ensure the success of the restoration efforts. The special permit condition required that a summary report of the monitoring be submitted to the Corps stating that excess fill material was removed and the site was restored to pre-existing conditions and contours. The report also needed to document the existence and relative success of revegetation efforts and installed erosion and sedimentation controls. The majority of stream and wetland permits for pipeline projects do not include a special condition requiring post-construction monitoring. Further, most natural gas operators do not typically conduct construction monitoring or post-construction monitoring to specifically review stream and wetland restoration efforts unless required as a permit condition. Without monitoring, easily avoidable and solvable problems could result in permanent stream and wetland impacts. As more pipelines are installed, stream and wetland restoration may become a primary environmental and regulatory concern and require more active construction monitoring by natural gas operators. © 2014 American Society of Civil Engineers.


Larson D.J.,Civil and Environmental Consultants Inc. | Macoskey K.A.,Civil and Environmental Consultants Inc.
Shale Energy Engineering 2014: Technical Challenges, Environmental Issues, and Public Policy - Proceedings of the 2014 Shale Energy Engineering Conference | Year: 2014

The Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule (GHG Rule), 40 CFR 98 Subpart W - Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems, affects eight segments of the petroleum and natural gas industry. Starting in 2011, operators in the oil and gas production segment were required to: (1) correlate well locations with corresponding oil and gas fields for tracking and reporting purposes; (2) delineate well locations within facilities, basins, and fields; and, (3) aggregate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to determine applicability. Strategies had to be developed for recording data, estimating emissions, and reporting. Data was collected on production rates, equipment counts, well venting durations, gas compositions, and other parameters needed to estimate emissions. If producers could not fully comply with Subpart W requirements, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allowed for use of best available monitoring methods, providing unique or unusual circumstances could be justified. Producers subject to Subpart W first had to report annual GHG emissions in September of 2012. Many shale oil and gas producers were not prepared to cope with the GHG Rule and many still may not be in full compliance. The authors discuss the requirements, challenges, and potential future implications of GHG monitoring and reporting for oil and gas producers. © 2014 American Society of Civil Engineers.


Parker L.R.,Civil and Environmental Consultants Inc.
Shale Energy Engineering 2014: Technical Challenges, Environmental Issues, and Public Policy - Proceedings of the 2014 Shale Energy Engineering Conference | Year: 2014

This topic will cover erosion and sediment control for natural gas well pads, facilities, and pipelines. Proper erosion and sedimentation control design and implementation is a critical part of the development process for operators in the Appalachian Basin. The Clean Water Act (CWA) was enacted in 1972, and Section 402 of the Act established the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). Oil and natural gas projects became exempt from NPDES permits through the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which was published as a final rule by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on June 12, 2006. However, many states are beginning to implement their own requirements for these activities despite the federal exemption. For example, Pennsylvania has an oil and gas specific Erosion, Sediment, and Stormwater General Permit (ESCGP-2) that adopted many of the NPDES regulations. WV requires an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan be submitted with the well drilling permit package for review and approval. At this time, Ohio does not have a specific earth disturbance permit for natural gas projects. Typical erosion controls used on natural gas projects include rolled erosion control blankets, sprayed hydromulch, water bars, proper stream and wetland crossing methods, and temporary vegetation. Typical sediment controls used on a natural gas well pad or other permanent facilities can include diversion channels, sediment traps, sediment basins, compost filter sock sediment trap, compost filter sock, silt fence, and rock construction entrance. Typical sediment controls used on a natural gas pipeline project can include compost filter sock, silt fence, and rock construction entrances. This paper includes example projects and photographs of the controls used. © 2014 American Society of Civil Engineers.


Acton W.T.,Civil and Environmental Consultants Inc.
Shale Energy Engineering 2014: Technical Challenges, Environmental Issues, and Public Policy - Proceedings of the 2014 Shale Energy Engineering Conference | Year: 2014

Exact wetland boundaries often are not easily identified. Natural gas producers and midstream operators often operate under deadlines and restrictions that are not compatible with regulatory timelines. As a result, they must rely on their consultants to make black and white decisions about project siting and routing when the science and regulations may not fully support such a call, leaving room for further discussion and potential judgment calls, or «grey areas». The outcome of similar situations can vary based on the geomorphic landscape, the environmental sensitivity of the general area, different regulatory agencies, and even differing opinions within the same regulatory agency. A comprehensive understanding of the 1987 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Wetlands Delineation Manual (Manual) and the Corps Regional Supplements - as well as state-specific water quality regulations - are required to make defensible decisions in the field so that projects can proceed ahead of regulatory concurrence. This requires thorough documentation of questionable areas to address project pressures while avoiding the inherent risks of differing opinions with regulators (who may not have the same history of the site as the consultant does) after costly design, construction schedules, or delivery contracts are in place. These decisions require frequent and open communication between the producer or midstream operator and the consultant. © 2014 American Society of Civil Engineers.


Chiado E.D.,Civil and Environmental Consultants Inc.
Shale Energy Engineering 2014: Technical Challenges, Environmental Issues, and Public Policy - Proceedings of the 2014 Shale Energy Engineering Conference | Year: 2014

This paper presents an overview of the weights and types of solid and semi-solid wastes generated from exploration and production (E&P) of Marcellus Shale in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the engineering and operational issues faced by operators of municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills that co-mingle these wastes. Since approximately 2009, the volume of Marcellus Shale drilling (MSD) waste being landfilled has increased substantially, becoming a significant component of the waste stream and an important revenue source. Our understanding of the physical and strength characteristics of MSD waste is relatively limited, raising questions concerning the stability of the landfill waste mass that incorporates this waste stream. This paper includes results from several field and laboratory studies performed to evaluate and develop physical and shear strength properties of MSD waste. Conclusions from these studies are provided as well as the general guidelines for incorporating MSD waste into an MSW landfill. © 2014 American Society of Civil Engineers.

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