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Carl Zipper

  • Professor, Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences and School of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Carl Zipper
185 Ag Quad Lane
416 Smyth Hall
Blacksburg, Virginia


I conduct research and outreach to address environmental issues with emphases on the interface of environmental science with government policy, and on environmental effects of fossil-fuel production including Appalachian coal mining.


  • Environmental Science


  • B.A. Social Science, Lehigh University, 1970
  • B.S. Agronomy, Virginia Tech, 1981
  • Ph.D. Agronomy, Virginia Tech, 1986
  • M.S. Agricultural Economics, Virginia Tech, 1987

Previously Taught

  • ENSC 3604: Fundamentals of Environmental Science (1989 – 2016)
  • CSES 5604: Environmental Science Concepts for Professionals (2006 – 2014)

Professor | 2012 – Present
Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences and School of Plant and Environmental Sciences

Associate Professor | 2002 – 2012
Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences

Assistant Professor | 1996 – 2002
Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences

Research Associate and Research Scientist | 1986 – 1996
Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences

  • Research and Outreach Award, 2018: by Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.
  • Management Science Award, 2016: by Tennessee River Aquatic Biodiversity Network.
  • William Plass Award, 2016: by American Society of Mine Reclamation.
  • Alumni Award for Excellence in University Outreach, 2012 : by Virginia Tech.
  1. Hester E.T., K.L. Little, J.D. Buckwalter, C.E. Zipper, T.J. Burbey. 2019. Variability of subsurface structure and infiltration hydrology among surface coal mine valley fills. Science of the Total Environment 651: 2648–2661.
  2. Vander Vorste R., A.J. Timpano, C. Cappellin, B.D. Badgley, C.E. Zipper, S.H. Schoenholtz. 2019. Microbial and macroinvertebrate communities, but not leaf decomposition, change along a mining-induced salinity gradient. Freshwater Biology 64:671–684.
  3. Clark E.V., W.L. Daniels, C.E. Zipper, K. Eriksson. 2018. Mineralogical influences on water quality from weathering of surface coal mine spoils. Applied Geochemistry 91: 97-106.
  4. Clark E.V., C.E. Zipper, W.L. Daniels, M.J. Keefe. 2018. Appalachian coal mine spoil elemental release patterns and depletion. Applied Geochemistry 98: 109-120.
  5. Franke M., C.E. Zipper J.N Barney. 2018. Native hardwood tree seedling establishment following invasive autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) removal on a reclaimed coal mine. Invasive Plant Science and Management 11: 155-161.
  6. Franke M., C.E. Zipper J.N Barney. 2018. Invasive autumn olive performance varies in different reclamation conditions: implications for restoration. Restoration Ecology
  7. Krenz R.J., C.E. Zipper, S.H. Schoenholtz. 2018. Periphyton structure and function in constructed headwater streams of the Appalachian coalfield. Freshwater Science 38: 780-794.
  8. Timpano A.J., S.H. Schoenholtz, D.J. Soucek, C.E. Zipper. 2018. Benthic macroinvertebrate community response to salinization in headwater streams in Appalachia USA over multiple years. Ecological Indicators 91: 645-656.
  9. Timpano A.J., C.E. Zipper, D.J. Soucek, S.H. Schoenholtz. 2018. Seasonal pattern of anthropogenic salinization in temperate forested headwater streams. Water Research 133: 8-18.
  10. Whitmore K.D., S.H. Schoenholtz, D.J. Soucek, W.A. Hopkins, C.E. Zipper. 2018. Selenium dynamics in headwater streams of the central Appalachian coalfield. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 37:2714–2726
  11. Yang Z., J. Li, C.E. Zipper, Y. Shen, H. Miao, P. Donovan. 2018. Identification of the disturbance and trajectory types in mining areas using multitemporal remote sensing images. Science of the Total Environment 644: 916-927.
  12. Clark E.V., C.E. Zipper, W.L. Daniels, Z.W. Orndorff, M.J. Keefe. 2017. Modeling patterns of total dissolved solids release from central Appalachia, USA mine spoils. Journal of Environmental Quality 46:55–63.
  13. Greer B.M., T.J. Burbey, C.E. Zipper, E.T. Hester. 2017. Electrical resistivity imaging of hydrologic flow through surface coal mine valley fills with comparison to other landforms. Hydrological Processes 31: 2244-2260.
  14. Oliphant A.J., R.H. Wynne, C.E. Zipper, W.M. Ford, P.F. Donovan, J. Li. 2017. Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) presence and proliferation on former surface coal mines in eastern USA. Biological Invasions 19:179–195.
  15. Skousen J., C. Zipper, A. Rose, P. Ziemkiewicz, R. Nairn, L. McDonald. 2017. Review of passive systems for acid mine drainage treatment. Mine Water and Environment 36: 133–153.
  16. Boehme E.A., C.E. Zipper, S.H. Schoenholtz, D.J. Soucek, A.J. Timpano. 2016. Temporal dynamics of benthic macroinvertebrate communities and their response to elevated specific conductance in Appalachian coalfield headwater streams. Ecological Indicators 64:171–180.
  17. Clark E.V., BM Greer; CE Zipper; ET Hester. 2016. Specific conductance-stage relationships in Appalachian valley fill streams. Environmental Earth Sciences 75:1222.
  18. Clark E.V., C.E. Zipper. 2016.  Vegetation influences near-surface hydrological characteristics on a surface coal mine in eastern USA. Catena 139: 241–249.
  19. Daniels W.L., C.E. Zipper, Z.W Orndorff, J. Skousen, C.D. Barton, L.M. McDonald,  M.A. Beck. 2016. Predicting TDS release from central Appalachian coal mine spoils. Environmental Pollution 216: 371-379.
  20. Krenz R.J., S.H. Schoenholtz, C.E. Zipper. 2016. Riparian subsidies and hierarchical effects of ecosystem structure on leaf breakdown in Appalachian coalfield constructed streams. Ecological Engineering 97: 389-399.
  21. Nash W., W. Daniels, K. Haering, J. Burger, C. Zipper. 2016. Long-term effects of rock type on Appalachian coal mine soil properties. Journal of Environmental Quality 45:1597–1606.
  22. Zipper C.E., P.F. Donovan, J.W. Jones, J. Li, J.E. Price, R.E. Stewart. 2016. Spatial and temporal relationships among watershed mining, water quality, and freshwater mussel status in an eastern USA river. Science of the Total Environment 541: 603–615.

Research Community Memberships