NDSU Calendar

Thursday, February 28, 2019
1:30pm
Special Environmental Speaker - Graeme Spiers (Speaker/Forum/Lecture)

Sudbury Landscape Status Forty Five Years after the Superstack

Sudbury, the home of one of the largest nickel mining and smelter complexes in the world, was one of the more industrially devastated regions on earth by the mid-20th century. The impacts of smelter sulphur gases from roast yards through to the more modern smelter operations emitting sulphur gases and metal particulates created a barren, inhospitable landscape of ~17000 ha. The requirement to reduce the emissions profile from the largest smelter complex led to the construction of the 381 m Superstack which, coupled with gas capture technology for acid production and electrostatic precipitators to retain charged particulates, led to reduced emissions and set the stage for an assisted landscape recovery program. Over the past forty plus years the Sudbury Regreening Story, based on effective interaction between community, government and industry, describes the core regional transformation program now recognized globally as a model to emulate.

Despite over a 95% reduction in air emissions since the opening of the Superstack, the accumulation of bioavailable and potentially toxic metal levels in the acid surface soils, accompanied by soil erosion and associated soil nutrient depletion, do continue to impede natural vegetation recovery. The internationally recognized Sudbury Protocol for technogenic barren landscape restoration has evolved from regreening activities that involved application of dolomitic limestone, fertilizer, seeding of agricultural grasses, legumes and planting of tree seedling to a more complete biodiverse restoration strategy. By 2018, 3478 ha had received soil amelioration and ca 10 million trees and shrubs had been planted for approximately $32.7 million while employing over 4775 individuals. The outcome of the Regreening Program is a new image for the city and environs which has helped to attract new business enterprises, tourists and encouraged an increased respect for the environment.

Location: Memorial Union - Meadow Lark Room
Price: FREE
Host: Co-sponsored by NDSU Environmental and Conservation Sciences (ECS), Geosciences and Soil Science
Contact: Tom DeSutter
E-Mail: thomas.desutter@ndsu.edu

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