The Civil and Environmental Engineering Department seminar series is held on two Wednesdays a month from 4:00-4:50 pm in the Classroom Building, CB204W. The SD Mines and engineering community are welcome to attend. Professional development hour (PDH) certificates will be mailed to attendees upon request for the seminars noted below. For more information, contact Dr. Soonkie Nam (
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Title: “Environmental Decision Making in Hydrologically Complex and Data Sparse Environments - An approach to identifying causal factors resulting in macroinvertebrate community changes in southwestern South Dakota streams from 1993 – 2016”
Presenter: Mr. Charles Jason Tinant
Time: 4:00PM Location: CB 204W
Abstract: Stream biotic community structure and function arises from dynamic interactions among biotic elements of the ecosystem and between these elements and the physical environment. Evidence based economic decision-making by States and Tribal entities to meet the Clean Water Act mandate to restore and protect the Nation’s waters is reliant on partitioning the biotic community structural variability into the variability resulting from changes in land use and variability caused by natural variation in the physical environment. Multiple metrics, multimetrics, derived from univariate measures of biotic, most often macroinvertebrate, community structure is typically used as proxies to describe whole stream ecosystem processes. These multimetrics, coupled with analysis of water quality parameters, are used to estimate whether pollution loads entering a stream are being assimilated without stream biotic community functional losses. An initial analysis of the set macroinvertebrate taxa data from 1993-2013 for 43 permanent stations on stream segments within Pine Ridge reservation, southwestern South Dakota boundaries indicates a substantial decline in multimetric values that is not well explained by increased concentrations of nutrients or other water quality parameters, and are directly correlated with annual precipitation. We present a “flushing flow” hypothesis to explain our observations, in which the frequency of “flushing flows” or high flow events limits algal standing stock, net ecosystem respiration and the likelihood of near hypoxic event occurrences leading to structural and functional ecosystem change. My presentation focuses on describing the study area, the methodological challenges in evaluating the flushing-flow hypothesis given the sparsity of available data, and our anticipated approach to estimate missing data and key factors, and hypothesis confirmation or rejection using random forests, non-metric dimensional scaling (NMS) of community data, and structural equation modeling (SEM), respectively.
credits are not available
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Title: “Biocementation to Reduce Mass-Loss of Burned Soils and to Increase Rates of Vegetation Rehabilitation after a Fire Event”
Presenter: Tasha Hodges, Ph.D. Student at School of Mines
Advisor: Dr. Bret Lingwall
Time: 4:00PM Location: CB 204W
Abstract: Microbiologically-induced calcite precipitation (MICP) is a biotechnology that is being extensively researched as a solution to enhance soil properties. MICP occurs when a urease-producing bacteria catalyzes the reaction of urea into a carbamate ion that degrades and initiates a series of reactions that, when combined with calcium, creates calcite. The effectiveness of MICP for soil cementation has been proven in research but there is currently not a viable application to real-world projects. Using the bacterium, Sporosarcina pasteurii, significant reductions of mass-loss from wind erosion have been observed in laboratory experiments.  Surface application of MICP can be performed by spraying the microbial solution on the surface of the soils and then applying a nutrient broth and calcium solution. The engineering use for MICP proposed in this research project focuses on using MICP for the stabilization of recently burned soils. Burned soils are physically reduced to small particles and the vegetation root matrix that held the soils in place is mostly lost after a fire which causes soils to become very susceptible to erosion. If a fire is intense it can sterilize the soils leaving behind no living microbial communities which can further increase time until vegetation recovery. Burned soils typically contain an increased abundance of elements, including calcium, that exist in the soils due to burned organic matter. Erosion of burned soils can cause a decrease in surface water quality including eutrophication of lakes. Natural and prescribed burning near riparian zones causes concern because of the chemical changes to the soils and downstream surface water.  The loss of nutrients from soils further decreases the vegetation recovery time. Applying a surface application of MICP to burned soils could potentially cement the soils particles together which would reduce mass-loss of soils from wind and water erosion. The solution would supply microbes and chemical nutrients to the soils and also maintain in place the nutrients from the burned organic matter so that vegetation recovery is faster and more abundant.
Experiments to be conducted for the research will show the environmental impacts of using MICP solutions to surface waters and vegetation regrowth and also create a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for the developed product. The effectiveness of the erosion resistance of burned soils with and without MICP application will be tested using erosion measuring devices such as: a rotational testing apparatus, a slot erosion testing device and a rainfall simulator. The amount of calcium chloride solution needed for adequate erosion control will be measured in unburned treated versus burned treated soils to determine if the increased calcium in burned soils reduces the amount of calcium additive needed while maintaining the cementation effects. The experimental results are predicted to show that the use of MICP biotechnology will increase vegetation recovery rates after a fire event while also reducing the required concentrations of potentially harmful chemicals.
credits are not available
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Title: "Non-Cohesive Bank Migration in Meandering Rivers”
Presenter: Mr. David Waterman
Time: 10:00AM Location: CM 310
Abstract: Predicting the dynamic behavior of stream channels is an important element of identifying risks when considering land usage or infrastructure development (roads, bridges, water intakes, etc.) near a stream/floodplain. Channel migration associated with meandering is one of the most readily observed types of dynamic behavior. Streams meandering within self-formed floodplains commonly have banks with a basal layer consisting of non-cohesive, coarse-grained soil; erosion of this basal layer is thought to have a dominant influence on bank migration rates. However, the development of physically sound bank migration algorithms suitable for non-cohesive bank materials has proven elusive; even sophisticated numerical river models continue to use ill-suited empirical formulations developed for cohesive soils. The non-cohesive bank migration problem is approached in the current analysis by distilling it into its most basic form: uniform, developed bend-flow in a channel bounded by uniform, coarse alluvium mobilized as bedload. Analytical treatment reveals a relatively straight-forward, physics-based relationship for bank migration rate. Although real streams are exceedingly more complex than the simplified conceptualization presented herein, this analysis was necessary to allow future progress on the issue. In addition to these findings, an outline of my intended research trajectory in the field of river mechanics is provided that is intended to have both regional and general significance.
credits are not available
Monday, April 10, 2017
Title: “Sustainable Tools for Reducing Weather and Climate Impacts”
Presenter: Dr. Cindy Bruyère, Deputy Director, Capacity Center for Climate and Weather Extremes (C3WE), National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO
Time: 4:00PM Location: CB 204W
Abstract: The economic impacts of weather and climate extremes are rising, as population grows and moves into urban and more hazard-prone areas. Impacts in the form of societal disruption and recovery time, and in the lingering effects of weather and climate events are amongst the less publicized – but nevertheless important - outcomes. In response to this growing need for actionable information, researchers within NCAR’s Capacity Center for Climate and Weather Extremes (C3WE) are partnering with a wide range of research and planning groups to develop GRRIT – the Global Risk Resilience and Impacts Toolbox. GRRIT places the tools and information to advance understanding of extreme events and their effects within reach of decision-makers and planners making society’s tough choices. GRRIT uses a sophisticated Framework that provides users with access to hazard, vulnerability, and exposure information and data from a broad variety of public and private sources via tools available within a web interface. Government agencies, industry, universities and others already have started to develop information and tools that could be used for informing decision makers responsible for making choices that make society less vulnerable to extreme events. However, these data and tools may not: be readily available, exist in formats accessible to the average user, or be adaptable to related regions and requirements. GRRIT’s sustainable, fully supported toolbox is designed to provide a common foundation for these and future developments, ones that aid society in reducing weather and climate impacts, building economic resilience, and improving disaster recovery. In keeping with NCAR practice for community facilities, GRRIT will be freely available and will be maintained and supported by NCAR.
Bio: Dr. Cindy Bruyère leads the NCAR-based systems development effort for the Engineering for Climate Extremes. Dr. Bruyère has an MSc in Dynamical Modeling and a PhD in Environmental Management. She started her career at the South African Weather Service, where she rose to Assistant Director of research programs, and Project Manager for operational systems. For a number of years she was also associated with the University of Pretoria and involved in meteorological training. Current research activities include understanding and predicting the impact of climate variability and change; dynamical model development; creating useful climate decision-making tools; and the development of statistical downscaling techniques. She trains those within the atmospheric science community in climate modeling techniques. Dr. Bruyère is also a visiting research fellow at the North-West University of South Africa.
credits are available
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Title: “Drought and Water Resources Management for a Changing World: Research Challenges and Opportunities”
Presenter: Dr. James Stagge, PE
Time: 10:00AM Location: CM 310
Abstract: Extreme weather events and water crises are the second and third most severe risks to the world according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report, behind only weapons of mass destruction. Acknowledging this importance, it is critical for engineers and researchers to explore the drivers of large-scale droughts, the often non-linear relationship between drought severity and impacts, and how to design water systems to mitigate these impacts, particularly given projected future changes in climate and water use. During this seminar, I will share how my research has begun to address these challenges and outline several research gaps with potential for exciting new research. One such area involves understanding drought development by linking major events to atmospheric and sea surface drivers with the ultimate goal of merging these findings with new techniques in phase-space modeling to develop an effective seasonal drought forecast. Such a forecast could significantly improve water management decisions, reduce the severity of water disasters, and be run alongside existing circulation-based forecasts. Other examples will demonstrate how drought severity can be translated into the likelihood of agricultural wildfires, or public water supply deficits, and how water systems optimization can reduce economic and societal impacts while potentially improving environmental function. The seminar will conclude with a discussion of drought trends in a changing climate, where I will outline a newly developed method to reconstruct centuries of monthly streamflow from tree-ring chronologies, providing a useful baseline for natural drought variability, and show how observed meteorological drought trends over the last 60 years indicate a detectable trend in drought frequency that can be linked to climate change projections.
Bio: James Stagge is a civil engineer with research interests in drought and water resources management. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Utah State University, focusing on the use of paleoclimate reconstructions to test water systems models. He was previously a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oslo, studying large-scale drought in Europe as part of the EU-funded Drought R&SPI project. He completed his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech University, working on water resources optimization in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, and received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Maryland.
credits are available
Thursday, March 30, 2017
Title: “Solving Emerging Water Related Problems Using the Systems Thinking Approach"
Presenter: Dr. Erfan Goharian
Time: 10:00AM Location: CM 310
Abstract: Population growth, climate change, and frequent incidents of drought, along with a decrease in social welfare, growing energy and food demand, ecosystem degradation, and other warning signs have forced us to seek novel and plausible methods to solve emerging water problems. The complexity and feedbacks among the water-energy-food (WEF) systems are necessary to understand in order to make wise decisions and manage these systems sustainably. However, the major challenge is to take actions while simultaneously considering environmental, technical, and social inherent uncertainties, and coping with conflicting demands. While water managers struggle with the planning and management of water resources, the recognition of complex WEF nexus challenges has led to calls for a consummate systematic approach to solve emerging water related problems. The systematic approach suggests involving systems and resilience thinking, interdisciplinary and quantitative research, and informed decision making process to manage the water resources systems. The water resources systems analysis involves dynamic simulation of water systems, optimal planning for single/multi-objective problems, multi-criteria decision making, and collaborative operations to better understand the socio-physical nature of rising water challenges. The purpose of water resources system analysis is to provide solutions for different types of water-related problems including water demand-supply tradeoffs, water quality, groundwater, flooding, hydropower, etc. This purpose can be achieved by using mathematical representations to model connected hydrologic, infrastructure, ecologic, and human processes that involve water to improve understanding and support sustainable-integrated water resources management processes. Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) seeks to put all these water-related pieces together in order to develop and manage water systems in an equitable and sustainable manner. Here, a brief overview of emerging water resources management challenges, with real-world cases from around the globe, is presented in an effort to utilize the cutting-edge knowledge of system analysis and other technical capacities (e.g. hydroinformatics, applied statistical analysis, hydrologic modeling, etc.) to aid water managers in making the best decisions. This leads to a call for future to understand how interactions between water, energy and food are shaped by climate, environmental, economic, social and political changes and how the synergies and trade-offs among them can be better planned and managed.
credits are available
March 15, 2017
Title: “Life cycle assessment of dryland crop rotation diversification” - *Advisor: Dr. James Stone
Presenter: Prashansa Shrestha Ph.D. Student at School of Mines
Time: 4:00PM Location: CB 204W
Abstract: Long-term, diverse crop rotation practices benefit agricultural sustainability. A cradle-to-field life cycle assessment (LCA) was used to quantify the rotational sustainability and environmental impact of wheat (Triticum spp.), fallow, cover crop, oilseed, and small grain
dryland rotations in the northern Great Plains (NGP), US. Fourteen crop rotation practices of variable duration, inclusive of fallow and associated economics, were evaluated using results from a 13-year rotation study which included more than 200 observations. Rotation
LCA impact evaluations were focused on calorific production, climate change potential, and freshwater eutrophication and ecotoxicity due to their direct link to agicultural productivity, economics, and nitrogen (N) application rates. Among the rotation durations evaluated, a four-crop rotation of winter
wheat-safflower-pea-winter wheat resulted the lowest LCA environmental impact. The overall environmental impact of this four-crop rotation was substantially less than traditional crop practices (wheat-fallow). Oilseeds and legume-based fallow cover crops played a vital role in increasing calorific production and
reducing the environmental burden of the rotations analyzed. Results reveal that non-cover cropped fallow generates a significant environmental burden, regardless of rotation. When rotation results were scored to evaluate agricultural production and sustainability, rotations which
had lower fertilization rates were more environmentally and economically sustainable. Crop insurance subsidies were found to promote rotational diversity and improve economics of higher diversity rotations. The methodologies presented in this paper can be used effectively to evaluate
sustainable farming techniques and encourage adoption of sustainable agricultural diversification and intensification practices.
Bio: Miss. Prashansa Shrestha graduated from Tribhuwan University, Nepal with Agricultural Engineering. She served in
Government of Nepal in sector of agricultural engineer for 4 yrs. in Nepal agricultural research council. She decided to enhance and polish her knowledge through School of Mines in spring 2016 to finish her PhD in Civil and Environment Engineering.
credits is not available
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Title: “Comparisons Between EROS Continuous Change Detection Classification System and USFS Forest Health Technology Mapping for the Current Mountain Pine Beetle Outbreak including the modeling of the hydrological impact of land cover change” And “Modeling
the Hydrological Impact of Land Cover Change for the Current Black Hills Mountain Pine Beetle Outbreak” - *Co-worker: Heidi Sieverding, Galen Hoogestraat, Dr. James Stone, *Advisor: Dr. Scott Kenner
Presenter: Patrick Shaw, Ph.D. student, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
Abstract: The United States Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Resources Observation Systems Data Systems (EROS) Data Center currently is developing a Continuous Change Detection Classification (CCDC) land cover tool to assess temporal surface changes from 1984 to present based on Landsat images. Tiled images are
geographically stacked and calibrated to allow users to temporally analyze the remotely sensed data on a pixel-by-pixel (30m by 30m) basis within the Landsat library. The CCDC incorporates mathematical models to produce a raster file of the changed pixels called ChangeMAP. The “change” occurs when the pixel value
is outside of two standard deviations of the mathematical model’s fitted trend line for three consecutive images. A tile encompassing the upper Rapid Creek watershed in the Black Hills of western South Dakota have been chosen as a ‘learning’ area for the tool’s land use classification algorithm. The region
often experiences multi-year periods of drought and flooding as well as land surface change from forest fires, forest management practices, and mountain pine beetle (MPB) (Dendroctonus ponderosae) infestation. The forest fires, management practices, and MPB infested areas have been mapped digitally by the
United States Forest Service (USFS). A regression analysis was performed on twelve subbasins within the upper Rapid Creek watershed with similar MPB stage, management, soils, geology, aspect, and slope. Results demonstrated a significant correlation between the CCDC ChangeMAP to the USFS shapefiles for MPB
and managed areas. The CCDC model detects forest changes from mechanical and natural elements, and therefore in the future can be used to create maps for the changed forested areas.
Bio: Mr. Patrick Shaw graduated from SDSM&T with BSCE in December 2014. He worked for Kimley-Horn and Associates in Mesa, Arizona working in the land development sector while aiding in the electrical, structural, water, and landscape architecture sectors. He decided to head back to the School of Mines in Fall
2015 to finish his Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering where he is now continuing his master’s project to the PhD level.
**PDH Credit is NOT Available
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Title: "Water Conservation Through Compost" and "What Is The Value Of Water?" - an analysis of the Rapid Creek Watershed, Rapid City, SD
Presenter: Jerome "Jerry" Wright, Ph.D. student at SD Mines, Rapid City Council Member and Retired Rapid City
Solid Waste Operations Manager
Abstract: Municipal Solid Waste is approximately 55% organics. The City of Rapid City has a very successful program of composting municipal solid waste and yard waste, along with bio-solids. This program creates a class A compost, taking two waste streams into a safe
and highly beneficial product - compost. With an increasing aware of the need to better manage and conserve water resources, would amending soils with compost increase their infiltration rates, therefore, obtaining field capacity for the proper growth of plant material with less application of irrigation
water. If the savings are significant, how will the use of compost in areas irrigated conserve water for growth and other needs and what is the cost? The use of compost in this way will create a higher and bigger market for its use. In addition, municipal composting, with bio-solids,
will take two waste streams into a usable product. This will reduce significant demand on landfills and bio-solid land application.
BIO: Jerome "Jerry" Wright graduated from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 1971 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and earned an M.S in Civil Engineering at Purdue University in 1974 with Urban Engineering and Transportation Planning Major and Urban and Human
Ecology and Public Finance Minors. He was also commissioned in 1971, has served in the US Army Reserve for 28 years and retired as Lieut. Colonel. His last tour was Operation Iraqi Freedom in Kuwait between 2006 and 2007 as an Executive Officer, Engineer Section, 3rd Army HQ. He also ran
his own small construction and trucking company between 1975 and 1987 and worked for Rapid City between 1987 and 2010, where he retired as a Solid Waste Operations Division manager. He has been serving for the community as a Rapid City Council member since 2011 and started his Ph.D. study in 2016 at the
School of Mines.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Title: "Applications of Life
Cycle Assessment Modeling in Polymerization/Depolymerization Processes based on
Renewable Resources" (MS Thesis Defense)
Presenter: Claudia Isola, Graduate Research Assistant at SD Mines
Abstract: Two studies are presented in this thesis, both utilizing Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as a methodology to identify environmental impact contributions in chemical processes based on renewable resources. The studies are: “Life cycle assessment of photodegradable polymeric
material derived from renewable bioresources” and “Sustainability evaluation for vanillin derived from lignin liquefaction.” The goal of this thesis is to demonstrate the advantages of including LCA in process or product development in order to improve sustainability. The first study described an
LCA model for a programmed photodegradation of polymeric/oligomeric materials derived from fructose. This research evaluated the sustainability of recyclable polymer building block production from renewable resource. A phototrigger was attached to the monomers during the polymerization process, resulting in a
polymer that degrades in the presence of UV light. Results indicated that 38 to 49% of the process environmental impacts could be attributed to the polymerization step, where energy consumption and use of non-renewable chemicals were significant contributors. The process of recycling polymeric
material reduced all environmental impacts, indicating that recycling benefits outweigh phototrigger production impacts. The second presented study focused on depolymerization of Kraft alkali lignin obtained as byproduct of pulp mills, into high-value phenolic products. Vanillin was the selected product due
to industry interest and its potential for commercialization. Different alkali lignin treatments were analyzed using life cycle assessment (LCA) and green design metrics. Results showed that models which adhered better to green design metrics also resulted in environmental impact reductions, demonstrating a
positive correlation between both sustainability metrics.