- About CBL
- Seminar Series
- Visitors Center & Outreach
- Giving to CBL
- My CBL
- SAFETY DOCUMENTATION
Margaret Palmer Recognized by USM Regents for Advancing the Role of Science in Public Policy
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Chesapeake Biological Laboratory scientist Dr. Margaret Palmer has been awarded the University System of Maryland Regents’ Faculty Award for Excellence for her scientific work informing policymakers and the public about the environmental impacts of mountaintop mining and restoration ecology.
Dr. Palmer’s recent scientific work detailing the environmental impacts of surface mining has helped call attention to the controversial practice. In mountaintop mining, upper elevation forests are cleared and stripped of topsoil, and explosives are used to break up rocks in order to access coal buried below. Much of this rock is pushed into adjacent valleys where it buries and obliterates streams. Her research was published in the well-respected journal Science.
“Through scientific rigor, leadership among other scientists and international stature, Dr. Palmer has changed the national debate about mountaintop removal mining for coal and its inevitable negative consequences for the nation’s water resources,” says UMCES President Dr. Donald Boesch. “For almost all of us, it is extremely unlikely that at some distant time in the future anyone would point to a major physical feature on Earth and say that if it were not for us, that feature would not exist. But Dr. Palmer will have such a multi-generational effect.”
“Dr. Palmer’s research and that of her world-class team have demonstrated with alarming clarity that this mining practice destroys mountains and streams and also poisons the water in a way that can never be reversed,” said U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin. “When we in government end mountaintop removal mining for good in this country, it will be in no small measure a result of her work.”
Throughout her career, Dr. Palmer has sought to understand what controls stream ecosystem structure and function. She specifically focuses on restoration ecology and how land use, hydrology and geomorphology influence the health of running-water ecosystems. Her current research evaluating stream ecosystem functions in Coastal Plain lowlands of Maryland and restoration effectiveness and evaluating the potential for stream restoration to enhance nitrogen removal in Chesapeake Bay tributaries has been critical in guiding the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort.
The Board of Regents Faculty Awards, established in 1995, publicly recognizes distinguished performance by educators and researchers within the University System of Maryland. Award categories include: Collaboration, mentoring, public service, teaching, research, scholarship, and creative activity.
Dr. Palmer is the seventh UMCES faculty member to be honored with the Regents’ award, joining Drs. Patricia Glibert, Rodger Harvey, Ed Houde, Tom Malone, David Secor, and Diane Stoecker.