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The Center for Restoration of Ecosystems and Watersheds


The University of Oklahoma Center for Restoration of Ecosystems and Watersheds (CREW) conducts research focusing on natural infrastructure and the ecosystem services provided through the conservation of natural systems and the creation and restoration of human-made systems.  In broad terms, CREW research focuses on  watershed biogeochemistry and ecological engineering.   

The faculty, staff and students of CREW seek to understand:

  • The biogeochemical transport and fate of materials and energy in all environmental media on the watershed-scale, with a focus on water quality in drastically disturbed catchments.
  • The opportunities and challenges presented by ecological engineering, the design of sustainable ecosystems integrating society and the natural environment for mutual benefit, with emphasis on mine water passive treatment systems, stream and wetland restoration, and similar ecotechnologies.  


Mayer Ranch Passive Treatment System at the Tar Creek Superfund Site near Commerce, OK. Photo taken by CREW small Unmanned Aerial System.

InsideOU February 26, 2020 "CREW Celebrates 10 Years of Environmental Research with GRDA"

Houston Chronicle November 25, 2019 "Could northwest Houston superfund be affected by flooding"

Joplin Globe September 01, 2019 "Tar Creek Environmental Conference in Offing"

KGOU National Public Radio April 10, 2019 "Norman Voters Reject Stoirmwater Improvements"

Shawnee News-Star March 22, 2019 "EPA Says Mushroom Compost Removes Pollutants from Tar Creek Site"

Tulsa World March 21, 2019 "Secret Weapon to Get Heavy Metals from Tar Creek : Comnpost Helps Treat Contaminated Water for Past Decade"

OU Daily October 22, 2018 "Norman Committee to Present Stormwater Funding Proposal at City Council Meeting"

Norman Transcript May 5, 2018 "Reuse Debate on Hold"

Norman Transcript May 4, 2018 "Dr. Robert Nairn Speaks on Water Reuse"

Joplin Globe September 17, 2017 "Progress Made in Cleaning Up Tar Creek Superfund Site, but Work Remains"

Science Daily May 24, 2017 "Metals from Bolivian mines affect crops and pose potential health risk, study suggests"

OU Forum April 24, 2017 "Professor's Perspective with Robert Nairn"

Norman Transcript January 28, 2017 "Collaborative Bishop Creek Restoration Brings Community Partners Together"

OU Daily February 24, 2017 "OU Engineering Professor Receives Award for Work in Land, Water Restoration"

Norman Transcript February 23, 2017 "Superfund Cleanup Lands OU Professor National Accolade"

Norman Transcript February 20, 2017 "OU Professor Honored for Work Rehabilitating Contaminated Water"

Miami News-Record November 6, 2016 "Excavation completed at Commerce Passive Treatment System"

Miami News-Record September 19, 2016 "Commerce Passive Treatment System proves successful"

Bay Journal November 23, 2015 "Grass really is ‘greener’ on other side of street in community experiment"

KTUL November 16, 2015 "New life to Tar Creek"

OU Nightly October 19, 2015 "OU researchers working to clean up Commerce’s contaminated water"

National Public Radio State Impact Oklahoma October 1, 2015 "Challenges and Progress Cleaning Up One of Oklahoma's Most Polluted Places"

KOTV May 19, 2015 "Scientists Finding Ways to Clean Up Contaminated Tar Creek Ground Water"