The West Virginia Water Research Institute (WVWRI) at West Virginia University (WVU) will continue focusing attention on the economic benefits of environmental restoration by supporting theRevitalizing Communities through Integrated Restorationconference Oct. 24-26 at the Radisson Hotel in Morgantown.

We are proud to be working with the Canaan Valley Institute (CVI) on this years conference,said Paul Ziemkiewicz, WVWRI director.

In addition to a $15,000 WVWRI award to CVI , WVWRI staff and associated WVU researchers are participating on the planning committee, moderating sessions and presenting research.

Todd Petty, assistant professor of aquatic sciences in the Division of Forestry, Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences and a WVWRI researcher, will present an overview of markets for restoration and a roadmap for market integration.

Petty won a $600,000, three-year research project award from the highly competitive U.S. EPA STAR (Science To Achieve Results) program. He and his research team are developing a system for identifying restoration priorities and impact vulnerability in Mid-Atlantic Highlands watersheds affected by coal mining. The team includes Mike Strager, a research coordinator in the DavisCollege Division of Resource Management, and Paul Ziemkiewicz and Jim Stiles of the WVWRI based at the National Research Center for Coal and Energy at WCU .

The work, currently in its second year, got its start under a seed grant award from the WVWRI .

I am certain EPA would not have funded the STAR project without the research foundation made possible by the WVWRI seed grant,Petty said.I believe the success of the EPA STAR project will launch additional research opportunities. Events like the Integrated Restoration Conference will ultimately produce more effective watershed efforts in this region.

Conference participants will identify the economic, ecological and social benefits of restoration, the list of currently funded stream projects that are supporting restoration and assess future funding opportunities, and the challenges facing a thriving restoration industry.

Other conference sponsors include the West Virginia University Environmental Research Center, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencys Office of Research and Development and Region 3, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Details available at