Potomac Environmental Research Laboratory

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Transcript Potomac Environmental Research Laboratory

Department of Environmental Science and Policy
George Mason University
Potomac Environmental
Research Laboratory
Belmont Bay
Prince William County, Virginia
An Environmental Research
and Education Center
for the Potomac River Basin
Department of Environmental Science and Policy
Faculty and Staff
12 tenured faculty
8 tenure-track faculty
6 term faculty
Part-time faculty
14 graduate TA’s
4 full-time staff
Wage staff
Degree Programs
•Ph.D in Environmental
Science and Public Policy
•M.S. in Environmental
Science and Policy
•B.S. in Earth Science
•Proposed B.A. in
Environmental Science and
Our Mission
To utilize the tools of scientific research,
restoration, education, and policy analysis
to help society understand and sustain
natural processes in ecosystems,
watersheds, and landscapes.
Potomac Environmental Research Laboratory
Specific Research Foci
• Restoration of Potomac River & Chesapeake Bay
• Sustainability of Natural Ecosystems in Suburban
• Impact of Global Climate Change on Management of
Aquatic Ecosystems
• Use of Molecular Techniques to Study Biodiversity
and Biocomplexity of Natural Ecosystems
Restoration of the Potomac River
and Chesapeake Bay
• New Bay Agreement
• Important research
questions remain:
– The effect of nutrients on
Bay organisms
– Greater understanding of
tidal freshwater &
oligohaline ecosystems
– The role of wetlands in
protecting the Bay
– The recovery of Bay
communities when stresses
are removed
Suburban Sustainability
• Northern Virginia is one
of the most rapidly
growing regions of the
– How does this rapid growth
impact our ecosystems?
– What are the growth and
development strategies that
can lessen that impact and
allow us to retain a greater
variety of organisms?
Global Climate Change and
Management of Natural Ecosystems
• Role of wetlands and
uplands in affecting global
carbon balance
• Carbon storage and how it
will change under climate
• Using managed
landscapes to store carbon
& carbon credits
Use of Molecular Techniques to Study Biodiversity
and Biocomplexity of Natural Ecosystems
• Microbial diversity in
salt marshes
• Microbial
associated with Bay
• Toxic algal bloom
• Picture here.
Belmont: A Great Opportunity for Environmental
Science and Policy
• At the mouth of
the tidal
Occoquan River
• 30 minute drive
from the Fairfax
• Convenient to
eastern PW, so.
Fairfax, Springfield, Alexandria,
Mount Vernon, &
points south
Immediate Vicinity
• Adjacent to Occoquan Bay
National Wildlife Refuge &
Virginia Science Museum site
• Near Mason Neck, PW Forest
National Park and other natural
• Convenient to I-95, Rt. 1, Rt.
123, Fairfax Campus
• Adjacent to VRE commuter rail
• In mixed use development
including retail, convention
center, housing
Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge
• 580 acres of tidal
marshes and upland
• A wide variety of
plants and animals
• Access for class field
trips, observational
Dockage Facilities on the Tidal
Occoquan River
• Facilitate access for
research on the tidal
Freshwater Potomac
River, a major subestuary
of the Chesapeake Bay
• Allow K-12 program to
take whole classes out on
the river
Potomac Environmental Research Laboratory
• Cluster of eight professors with research and office
• Support facilities for field and laboratory studies of
ecology and environmental science
• Graduate and undergraduate student researchers
• Classroom space for graduate and undergraduate
classes in Environmental Science and Policy, Biology
& other subjects
• Space for K-12 environmental education programs to
be developed in concert with local school systems.
• Publicly accessible environmental resource center with
space to host community and regional public meetings
Facilities Anticipated at Belmont
• 8 research labs
(with viewing walls)
• 4 teaching lab
• 14 support rooms
• 3 Lecture Rooms
(30-50 seat)
• 1 Large Assembly
Room (80 seat)
• 10 Offices
Facilities Anticipated at Belmont
• Library/Resources
• GIS/Graphics
• Conference Room
• Classrooms for
general university
Specific Benefits of Proposed Facility
• Laboratory and office space
freed up on Fairfax Campus
• Increased capacity for
research and graduate
training in environmental
• Increased grant activity and
overhead generation
• Potential for new courses in
environmental science,
earth science, and biology
• Increased visibility for
GMU environmental
Education Programs
• Serve as a focus of activity
for Environmental
programs at GMU
– Graduate programs in
Environmental Science and
Public Policy
– Certificates in Environmental
– Courses in Biology,
Chemistry, Geology,
Geography, Human Ecology
– General Education course in
Environmental Science
K-12 and Community Programs
• Work with local schools to
implement watershed and
bay ecology educational
programs incorporated
into basic science
• Conduct ecology camps
• Serve as a resource for
local government and
Space Opened
• Robinson:
– 2000 sq ft of lab space
• King
– 500 sq ft of lab
– 500 sq ft of office
• Krug
– 1200 sq ft of lab
• Boat Yard
Enhanced Visibility for GMU
• Would move GMU into front ranks of schools
with active environmental programs
• Would establish GMU as center of research on the
Potomac River and its watershed
• Would establish GMU as a center of research on
suburban sustainability
• Strongly endorsed by recent external review of
GMU programs in Biology and ESPP
• The Belmont complex would provide a venue for
state and national conferences and workshops on
environmental issues
A Great
The location is ideal
The research agenda is topical and significant
The faculty and programs are a good fit
The educational opportunities are exciting
Some significant benefits will accrue to the
• The costs are affordable