Research Facilities
The Biological Systems Engineering Department has several research laboratories. These include the Water Quality Lab, the Water Resources Lab, and the Watershed Assessment Lab. The Water Quality lab conducts basic wet chemistry analyses, including nutrients, suspended sediments, bacteria, and organic matter. Additional analyses can be conducted in laboratories across the university. The Water Resources lab has a 16-foot recirculating hyrdraulic flume and a 1 m x 6 m x 0.4 m sediment flume. These flumes are used for both research and teaching.

In addition to laboratory facilities, the department owns or has access to an extensive collection of field monitoring equipment, including dataloggers, automated samplers, water quality sensors, pressure transducers, a 3-D acoustic doppler flow meter, a submerged jet test device, two rainfall simulators, standard surveying equipment, and a ground-based LIDAR system. The department also owns and operates a fleet of trucks for research use. A full time, hard funded research technician is available to assist faculty and students with the design, installation, and maintenance of laboratory and field research equipment.

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The StReAMS (Stroubles Research and Management Site) Lab is an outdoor research laboratory located on Stroubles Creek, just downstream of the Virginia Tech campus. The headwaters of Stroubles Creek are in the Town of Blacksburg. Stroubles Creek flows through (mainly under) the Virginia Tech campus and is currently listed as impaired on Virginia's Section 303(d) list, due to bacteria and impairment of the stream benthic macroinvertebrate community (sediment). The Stroubles Creek watershed is instrumented with a weather station and four rain gages. Additional meterological data are available at the nearby Blacksburg office of the National Weather Service. Stream stage, water temperature, and turbidity are measured continuously. Streambank retreat rates are being monitored using erosion pins, scour chains, and regular topographic surveys. Additional monitoring can be conducted on as needed for specific projects.

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Due to its proximity to campus and (ultimately) long term monitoring record, the StReAMS lab provides a unique opportunity for field research, teaching, and community outreach.