Senior Design Project on Aquaponics at the Sustainable Development House

SDH Aquaponics showing a fish in a tankHOUGHTON — Students at Michigan Technological University’s (MTU) Sustainable Development House (SDH) have combined fish and plants into a sustainable farming system called aquaponics. The arrangement of pipes and tanks uses plants and bacteria in an inorganic substrate as the filter for fish tank water, creating an organic system that feeds the plants and keeps the fish healthy.

“We just added a ton of new fish Wednesday,” said SDH resident and project manager Rose Turner.

The aquaponic setup is part of Turner’s senior design project at MTU. It’s a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics, and has some of the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Joshua Vissers.

Rose is a senior environmental engineering student from Berkley, Michigan. This is her final semester at Tech and her last semester as the coordinator of the SDH.

Read more at the Michigan Tech Sustainability Demonstration House Facebook page.


Watkins and Mayer Discuss Father’s Day Flooding

Father's Day Flood showing a destroyed streetHOUGHTON — As high rain or flood events become more prevalent, many areas are putting a renewed focus on natural methods to mitigate flooding.

Michigan Technological University researchers spoke to a standing-room-only crowd at the Carnegie Museum Thursday on the changing climate patterns and extreme weather conditions which contributed to the severity of the June 17 flood.

As air gets warmer, it holds more water vapor, said David Watkins, a Tech civil and environmental engineering professor. At the same time, accelerated warming in the Arctic has shifted the jet stream that circulates air globally, turning it from a direct path to a “lazy river,” Watkins said.

By 2030, extreme weather events will be more likely, and urbanization will have accelerated, said Alex Mayer, professor of geological and mining engineering sciences and civil and environmental engineering at Tech. In 2030, a projected 60 percent of all urban areas will have been built in the past 30 years.

The talk is the first in a series of Father’s Day Flood presentations held by the Keweenaw Land Trust and Carnegie Museum.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Garrett Neese.



CIGLR Funding for Pengfei Xue

Pengfei Xue
Pengfei Xue

Pengfei Xue (CEE/GLRC) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $130,118 research and development contract from the University of Michigan-Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR).

The title of the project is “The Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research: Long-Term Data Assimilative, Temperature and Currents Database for Lake Erie.”

This is a one-year project.

By Sponsored Programs.


Stan Vitton Works to Stabilize Redridge Dam

Redridge Dam
Redridge Dam

STANTON TOWNSHIP — In the June 17 storm that caused flash flooding in many areas, the steel dam at Redridge suffered accelerated and aggravated damage and distress.

Stan Vitton, of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Michigan Technological University, is now the principal investigator for stabilization project to be funded by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Vitton and his team have worked to monitor the dam’s condition, needed repairs, and other stabilization procedures, Vrana said, and their work has been instrumental in keeping the project on the front burner since the study and restoration programs started in 2008.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Graham Jaehnig.


7th Annual Lake Superior Water Festival was Held Oct. 17th for Gr. 4-8 at MTU Great Lakes Research Center

More than 700 students in grades 4-12 in thirty classes from ten schools in Houghton, Baraga, and Gogebic Counties descended upon MTU’s Great Lakes Research Center on Wednesday, October 17, from 9am to 3 pm, for the 7th Annual Lake Superior Water Festival. Students from the following schools participated :  Baraga High School, Barkell Elementary, CLK Elementary, EB Holman School, Houghton Middle School, Ironwood High School, Jeffers Middle School, Lake Linden-Hubbell Middle School, South Range Elementary, and Washington Middle School.

Twenty-four different sessions were presented throughout the day, presented by Michigan Tech scientists (including Dr. Audra Morse and Daisuke Minakata’s graduate Student, Ryan Kibler) and graduate students, along with U.S. Coast Guard, Ottawa National Forest, Isle Royale National Park, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, BHK AmeriCorps and Copper Harbor Trails Club. See attached list of presenters/locations.

The Water Festival provides an opportunity for students to learn about and celebrate our most precious natural resource – the Great Lakes! A wide variety of topics from science and engineering to creative writing will be presented.  Students attend four 35-minute activities. Some of the topics to be presented include Remotely-Operated- Vehicles, Leave No Trace Outdoors, cleaning wastewater, Careers with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Chemistry of Corrosion, Design a Fog Harvester, and more.

The 2018 Water Festival is coordinated by the MTU Center for Science & Environmental Outreach, with funding from the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative and Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center.

“Thank you so much for the opportunity to present at Water Festival. It was a blast to teach all of the students. Thanks for all your hard work in organizing such a wonderful event. It’s so exciting to see kids getting hands-on experience in labs and introduced to science at a young age.”  – Ryan Kibler, ENVE MS Student


CTT Hosts 2018 Roadsoft User Conference

RUCUS 2018 banner text

The Center for Technology and Training (CTT) hosted its third annual Roadsoft User Conference of the United States (RUCUS) Sept. 26, 2018, in Grand Rapids. RUCUS was attended by more than 70 persons representing road agencies in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Pennsylvania.

Conference topics included roadway asset inventory, inspection and maintenance; using the Roadsoft culvert, drainage structure and sidewalk modules; and safety, pavement management strategies and project planning. The event also provided attendees with networking opportunities with other agencies and with CTT staff.

Those CTT staff attending the conference were Research Engineer Pete Torola, PE and Dale Lighthizer, PhD, PE; Senior Project Manager Gary Schlaff; Training and Operations Senior Project Manager Christine Codere; Technical Specialist Scott Bershing; Customer Service and Data Support Specialist Allison Berryman; Principal Programmers Nick Koszykowski and Luke Peterson; Senior Software Engineers Mary Crane, Nancy Moore and Mike Pionke and Software Engineer Sean Thorpe.

A one-day “Introduction to Roadsoft” training was conducted at the conference venue on Sept. 25. The training provided an overview and instructions on using the following Roadsoft features: map interface, legends, filters and reports; road, sign and culvert modules; data collection using the laptop data collector; safety analysis using crash data; data management and numerous tips and tricks.

Roadsoft is a roadway asset management system for collecting, storing and analyzing data associated with transportation infrastructure. Roadsoft is developed and supported by the CTT with principal funding from the Michigan Department of Transportation.

CTT Roadsoft on the Road Site Visits

Center for Technology and Training (CTT) staff Allison Berryman, Mary Crane and Mike Pionke traveled to lower Michigan providing Roadsoft on-site technical assistance in the cities of Detroit, Ann Arbor, Manchester and Pinckney, and at the Newaygo County Road Commission during the week of Oct. 22, 2018.

This is the fifth year of the semi-annual “Roadsoft On The Road” visits, which are hands-on sessions with agency-specific topics. Besides helping Roadsoft customers, the sessions provide CTT software engineers with valuable information about client workflow and challenges; this helps guide further software development to provide improved capability and usability of the Roadsoft program.

The Center for Technology and Training is a research center housed at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Roadsoft is a roadway asset management software suite for collecting, storing, and analyzing data associated with transportation infrastructure. Roadsoft is developed and supported by the CTT with principal funding from the Michigan Department of Transportation.


Civil and Environmental Engineering Recognized for Safety Efforts

CEE Safety shows people wearing hard hats in the labThe Office of Environmental Health and Safety announced the first of two inaugural Excellence in Safety awards for the 2019 academic year.

This year’s academic recipient is the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. CEE is being recognized for the efforts of its Laboratory Safety and Chemical Hygiene Committee. The committee, comprised of Stan Vitton, Chris Wojick, Dave Perram, Lisa Cunard, Kiko de Melo e Silva, Jake Hiller and Noel Urban, worked to become campus leaders in both online training and self-inspection. The committee developed a training matrix that matches specific lab hazards to training titles in the PureSafety system, and was one of the first departments to adopt the SafetyStratus system for department-level lab inspections.

CEE thanks Chair Audra Morse for her support of the committee’s excellent work, and all of the employees of CEE for their ongoing commitment to safety.

By Environmental Health and Safety.


STEM Panel Discussion for the Film: Science Fair

Science Fair move posterFor Middle and High School Teachers and Students ~ We hope that you and your students will attend this special event!

FILM TITLE: SCIENCE FAIR (90 min) is the opening film for Michigan Tech’s 41N Film Festival Nov. 1st-4th!

DATE: Thursday, Nov. 1st, 2018

TIME: 7:00-9:00 PM

LOCATION: Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts

DESCRIPTION: This special free screening of the new National Geographic documentary SCIENCE FAIR follows nine high school students from around the world as they prepare for and attend the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). Already hard at work on problems such as the Zika virus and nerve tissue regeneration, these students (and their teachers) offer us an inspiring story about the passion and intelligence of our next generation of STEM researchers. A flyer for the Science Fair film is attached.

PANEL DISCUSSION follows the screening:

Dan Pertile, 5th grade Science Teacher & Science Fair Coordinator, Barkell Elementary,

David Flaspohler, Professor & Director of Undergraduate Studies, School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, Michigan Technological University.

Emily Gochis, Director MiSTEM Network Western UP Region

Joan Chadde, Director, Center for Science & Environmental Outreach and STEM Festival coordinator, Michigan Technological University

Prize drawings for both teachers and students!

For more information about the 2018 41N Film Festival, visit http://41northfilmfest.org.

Science Fair follows nine high school students from around the globe as they navigate rivalries, setbacks and, of course, hormones, on their journey to compete at The International Science and Engineering Fair. As 1,700 of the smartest, quirkiest teens from 78 different countries face off, only one will be named Best in Fair.


MDOT Contracts for CTT

TAMC website screenshotTim Colling (CEE/CTT) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $219,311 contract from the Michigan Department of Transportation. Pete Torola (CEE) and Chris Gilbertson (CTT/CEE) are the Co-PIs on the project “2019 Transportation Asset Management Council Education Program Work Plan.” This is a one-year project.

Tim Colling (CEE/CTT) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $118,203 contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation. Mary Crane (CEE) is the Co-PI on the project, “2019 Transportation Asset Management Council Technical Assistance Activities Program.” This is a one-year project.

By Sponsored Programs.