Dr. Steven Rier and students Aaron Gordon-Weaver, Jennifer Tuomisto and Jordan C. Krebs have been working with the USGS Northern Appalachian Research Lab in Wellsboro on a large-scale year-long simulated brine spill experiment in outdoor raceways that have been set up to mimic natural stream ecosystems. These raceways were naturally colonized with algal, microorganisms and macroinvertebrates and were stocked with ecologically relevant fish. Raceways then experienced brine pulses of varying magnitude and duration to simulate frac water spills associated with unconventional gas drilling. An array of ecosystem-related parameters is being measured for one year following the brine pulses. This research is being funded by the USGS and a $25,000 grant to Dr. Rier from the Geisinger Hood Center for Health Research.
This summer, Dr. Rier’s lab is completing construction of a real-time water quality monitoring station on Fishing Creek, continuing to study phosphorus dynamics in relation to flood pulses in Fishing Creek and doing preliminary work on a potentially toxic cyanobacterium that has been blooming in Fishing Creek the last several years. This research is being funded by the Degenstien Foundation.