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CCPO Seminar Focuses on Elizabeth River Restoration Efforts

Members of the Old Dominion University community and the general public will get an insider's look at the ongoing restoration efforts for the Elizabeth River watershed at a seminar Monday, Sept. 21, sponsored by ODU's Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography (CCPO).

The CCPO seminars, to be held most Mondays during the fall semester, begin at 3:30 p.m. and are held in Room 3200 of Innovation Research Park Building 1 in University Village. These presentations, as well as the refreshments that are served beginning at 3 p.m., are free.

Joe Rieger, staff scientist for the Elizabeth River Project, will speak at the upcoming seminar. He received a master's degree in ecology from ODU in 2002 and has been working for the non-profit project since then. He oversees projects such as wetland, oyster-bed and sediment restoration, working in conjunction with citizens, waterfront industries, government agencies and universities.

The watershed, covering 200 square miles in this urban region, helps to make up one of the Atlantic coast's most active and longstanding commercial ports. Over the years it has suffered sediment contamination, wetlands degradation and poor water quality. The Elizabeth River Project, a community-based, non-profit organization, was launched in 1994 with the goal of restoring the river to the highest practical level.

Rieger and others in the organization have built partnerships and coordinated activities among 120 entities that have a stake in the health of the watershed. Their work has resulted in the restoration of 11 tidal wetlands, 15 sanctuary oyster reefs and steps toward remediation of five contaminated sediment sites.

Currently the project is focusing on sediment remediation and other work at Money Point on the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River, as well as on the water quality in the Lafayette River.

This article was posted on: September 15, 2009

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