The Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation recognizes Carl E. Zipper, an associate professor and Virginia Cooperative Extension specialist for crop and soil environmental sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, for his research intomanagement of land and water resources and development of related public policy.
A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1986, Zipper has worked to apply and extend scientific concepts to improve environmental restoration and management in coal-mining areas. Much of his outreach is through the Power River Project (PRP), for which he serves as director.
His current research focus is restoration of mined lands, management of water resources influenced by coal mining in Appalachia, and development of nutrient criteria for the Commonwealth of Virginia. He advises the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality as a member of the agency’s Academic Advisory Committee, and serves as a member of the U.S. Office of Surface Mining’s Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative Science Team and the Clinch-Powell Clean Rivers Initiative Executive and Science Teams.
He is an expert in disturbed land restoration and management, watershed protection and management, mined land reclamation, ecosystem restoration and recovery, coal mining environmental issues, and water quality.
Zipper’s future research plans include continuing the work to understand and aid management of ecosystem restoration and recovery processes in streams and forests that are being re-established on coal-mined lands, with a focus on total dissolved solids (TDS) in coal-mine discharge waters. Longer-term research goals concern linkages between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem recovery, minimum reclamation practices that can accelerate both terrestrial and aquatic recovery, and exploring how “lessons learned” from coal mine reclamation might apply to ecosystem restoration science more generally.
Zipper received a B.A. in social science from Lehigh University, and three degrees from Virginia Tech: his M.S. in agricultural economics and his B.S. and Ph.D., both in agronomy.