Biochar and Mine Reclamation: Cleaning Brownfields and Contaminated Water

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Join us for this Climate Week NYC side event.

Around the world, there are an estimated one million abandoned mines, each site potentially creating extensive ground soil and water contamination.

Moreover, contamination in these so-called “brownfields” can be deadly serious for surrounding communities due to the presence of leftover heavy metals, arsenic, sulfuric acid, and mercury, among other toxic sustances.

Biochar is a powerful solution for mine remediation, one that can be made on-site from non-commercial forest biomass. Biochar cleans up brownfields, serving as a filter to capture contaminants in soil and water. When added to the soil, biochar also improves soil health and sequesters carbon, in addition to soil and water remediation.

Join the International Biochar Initiative (IBI) for an interactive presentation with the Sierra Fund‘s Program Director, Dr. Carrie Monohan, to learn about the organization’s work in the Sierra Mountains of California in mine reclamation and remediating brownfields.

Attending this webinar is FREE for IBI members and $40 for non-members.

Registration includes access to presentation slides and recording of the webinar, as well as a bonus material: a curated bibliography of biochar and mine reclamation research.



Dr. Carrie Monohan, The Sierra Fund

Dr. Carrie Monohan, Program Director, earned her Ph.D. in Forest Resources and Hydrology in 2004 from the University of Washington. Her dissertation work addressed the relationship between water quality in agricultural streams and diminishing salmon habitat.

She has served as the Science Director at The Sierra Fund since 2010, and the Program Director since 2018, where she designs and directs research to fill critical data gaps in water quality regulation, abandoned mine remediation and prioritization of conservation efforts. Other notable recent positions include Senior River Scientist for the Natural Heritage Institute and project manager and lead scientist for the EPA Brownfields Community Wide Assessment in Nevada City.

Dr. Monohan is also an Adjunct Professor and Lecturer at California State University at Chico where she teaches courses in the Geological and Environmental Sciences Department. Dr. Monohan supervises graduate student research in the projects that she directs at The Sierra Fund. These research efforts include: sediment and mercury loading; storm flows; erosion and deposition rates; shallow groundwater well redox conditions; and identification of mercury and other heavy metal contamination sources.

Carrie moved to Nevada City in 2005 with her husband Keith, daughter Kamis and son Will. She loves river rafting, and living off the grid on their 3.5 acres.

Moderated by Kathleen Draper, IBI Board Chair

Kathleen Draper is IBI’s Board Chair and has been in the biochar industry for more than a decade. She has co-authored two books about biochar (BURN: Using Fire to Cool the Earth and Terra Preta: How the World’s Most Fertile Soil Can Help Reverse Climate Change and Reduce World Hunger) and written and spoken about biochar to audiences around the globe. She is the US Director for the Ithaka Institute for Carbon Intelligence, a non-profit, open-source organization focused on the use of biochar in climate farming, agroforestry as well as other industrial uses of biochar. She is also a co-founder of C-interest, a materials company working to commercialize biochar-based composites. She has a Master’s degree in Managing for Sustainability. Prior to becoming involved with the biochar world, she worked for an international consulting firm working on various internal and external areas including project and knowledge management, human resources, and more.

About Climate Week NYC

Climate Week NYC is the largest annual climate event of its kind, bringing together some 400 events and activities across the City of New York – in person, hybrid and online. Each year, business leaders, political change makers, local decision takers and civil society representatives of all ages and backgrounds, from all over the world, gather to drive the transition, speed up progress, and champion change that is already happening.

Climate Week NYC is hosted by Climate Group, an international non-profit whose purpose is to drive climate action, fast.