Joel Pierson- 2013 Doyle Stephens Scholarship Recipient


Willard Spur Nutrient Cycling: Geologists Study Effect of Fertilizer on Plants

In 2012 and 2013 in situ fertilizer amendments were used to simulate the effluent from a wastewater treatment plant. Changes related to the fertilizer amendments were observed in plant health and surface water and sediment chemistry. However, the rate that nutrients were released from the fertilizer was not known, making it impossible to quantitatively compare the nutrient loads from the fertilizer to the nutrient loads from the wastewater treatment plant.

Joel Pierson was awarded the 2013 Doyle W. Stephens Scholarship. Joel will be presenting his work at a special program to be announced soon. Stay Tuned!

About the Doyle W. Stephens Scholarship

Funds from the FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake 2013 Doyle Stephens Scholarship  were used to conduct a two week long experiment. This data allowed direct comparisons to be made between nutrient loads during the nutrient cycling experiment and nutrient loads from the wastewater treatment plant for different hydrologic conditions in the Willard Spur.

Joel Pierson: I was born and raised in the Midwest and enjoyed the sand dunes on the shores of Lake Michigan near Traverse City, MI. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Hope College in 2007 I followed my lovely girlfriend, who is now my lovely wife, to Alaska and taught chemistry and earth sciences for four years.My interest in water quality took hold in Alaska while learning about legacy contamination on military bases near Fairbanks, AK and oil spill remediation efforts throughout the state. Observing efforts to preserve pristine and sensitive wilderness from mining development also pointed me towards a Master’s of Science in geology at the University of Utah, focusing on geochemistry and water quality. I participated in several geochemical investigations of the Great Salt Lake and its surrounding wetlands. I also enjoyed a study abroad trip to Ecuador where we assessed the impact of mining on surface water and groundwater resources.

My thesis focused on the Willard Spur and simulating nutrient loads to assess the impacts of effluent from a wastewater treatment plant on the Willard Spur water and sediment. I feel very fortunate to have conducted research in the context of caring about the health and resiliency of a beautiful place. With free time I enjoy building something useful and being outside on any sort of human powered adventure including skiing, biking, hiking, and packrafting.

King For A Day by <a href="">Charles Uibel</a>

King For A Day by Charles Uibel