Casey Schmidt is an environmental biogeochemist and ecological engineer. His research interests include biogeochemical modeling, urban stormwater quality, stream and wetland restoration, limnology, stream ecology and groundwater bioremediation.
Current and past projects have included investigations of anthropogenic influences on soil and water quality in urban and agricultural areas and utilizing restoration, bioremediation and improved management to limit these impacts. Through past projects, Dr. Schmidt designed, oversaw construction of, and monitored one of the largest permeable reactive barriers (PRBs) in the world to stimulate groundwater denitrification (denitrification wall/bioreactor). Utilizing hydrology assessments, gas emission sampling, soil enzyme and microbial analyses, C and N mass balances, and a paired watershed N-load study, the water quality improvements and sustainability of this treatment approach were demonstrated. To improve our understanding of the factors controlling denitrification he developed an experiment to model the physicochemical drivers of denitrification as a function of multivariate predictors including electron donor concentration, groundwater temperature, hydrology, and media surface area and carbon quality.
In an urban floodplain, Dr. Schmidt utilized spatial modeling of soil and water chemical properties, vegetation and hydroperiod data to document the impact of historic and current stream flood pulses on the fluvial geomorphology, vegetative succession, soil physicochemical properties, and nutrient and metal cycling of the riparian wetland. Through utilizing these detailed monitoring results, Dr. Schmidt developed stream and wetland restoration guidelines. Additional urban water quality research has involved evaluating the future fate and transport of sediments and metals deposited when Hurricane Katrina inundated the city of New Orleans and evaluating the influence of land-use on an urban to forested gradient on phosphorus loading to Lake Washington in Seattle. Lastly, Dr. Schmidt is involved in research evaluating the use of Juniper and Pinyon derived biochar as a soil amendment to improve urban soil quality.
At DRI, Dr. Schmidt is interested in continuing to use multidisciplinary approaches to develop ecologically-minded interventions towards restoring streams, lakes and wetlands, ameliorating soil and water quality impacts and improving environmental health.