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News Release

Lehigh Gap Wildlife Refuge Research Roundtable at Moravian College

Bethlehem, Pa., January 4, 2007— Moravian College will host a research roundtable meeting with leading environmental experts to discuss Superfund Remediation efforts that have been ongoing at the Lehigh Gap Wildlife Refuge. The meeting of science and environmental experts from 9 colleges/universities will be represented along with a number of agencies, such as U.S. Geological Survey, the DOE, DEP, and others on Thursday, January 4, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Haupert Union Building, Snyder Room.

“The damage to the Lehigh Gap was due to the zinc smelter operations by the Horsehead Zinc Corporation and the acid deposition and heavy metal toxicity resulted in devastating losses of vegetation on the mountainsides leading to a total denuded region and severe erosion,” said Dr. Diane Husic, professor of biology, Moravian College.  “The toxic subsoils that remain have made it difficult for any re-vegetation and a variety of past efforts have failed.  A group of private environmentally conscious citizens purchased 750 acres of the land and in 2002 began an ecological experiment to use warm season prairie grasses in a remediation attempt.  This has been unbelievably successful and now, habitat restoration and a number of ecological studies are underway.”

For additional information about the history and remediation efforts visit http://www.lgnc.org/  on the Web.

“There are a number of researchers who have been contributing to the “baseline” studies going on at the site – from a number of regional colleges and universities, from the state, from CBS (they are the holding company responsible for the remediation according to the Superfund legislation),” Husic continued.   “It is a distinguished group of scientists and engineers.  This group has never gathered in a single place to discuss the research progress and opportunities.”


10:30 -- Welcome – Diane Husic, professor of biology, Moravian College

10:40 -- The Lehigh Gap Restoration Project – Dan Kunkle, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

11:00 -- Current projects and research interests – Group members

11:45 -- Lunch/Networking/Informal Brainstorming

1:00 -- Brainstorming session

   1. Possible projects
   2. Possible collaborations
   3. Possible funding sources

2:00 -- Where do we go from here?

2:15 -- Wrap up and adjournment

The Haupert Union Building is located at the corner of Locust and Monocacy streets on Moravian’s Main Street Campus. Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.