Dr. Dan Bain

Dr. Daniel Bain, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geology & Environmental Science, has a long record of collaboration with local non-governmental organizations to forge more sustainable solutions to Pittsburgh’s environmental challenges. Since arriving at the University of Pittsburgh, he has worked extensively with both the Nine Mile Run Watershed Association and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.

In Nine Mile Run, he led the Association’s Monitoring Committee in the organization and interpretation of a wide variety of data, largely described in the multi-authored report to the broader urban stream restoration committee in the Journal of the American Water Resources Association, and forming the basis of their recently established stream report card.

With the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Bain has been one of lead collaborators in their effort to install and evaluate demonstration green stormwater infrastructure as part of Pittsburgh’s larger effort to reduce sewer overflows to the region’s rivers. For example, evaluation of green stormwater infrastructure in Schenley Park has influenced the placement and technology choices in more recent implementation of green stormwater infrastructure in Pittsburgh.

In addition to longer-term partnerships with NMRWA and PPC, there are numerous examples of ad hoc projects led by Bain that contribute directly to local NGO efforts to create a more sustainable Pittsburgh. Following the arrival of the emerald ash borer, an invasive exotic insect that decimates Ash tree populations, Bain and his group, in collaboration with Tree Pittsburgh and Treevitalize Pittsburgh evaluated the potential impact of the tree loss on slope stability in Pittsburgh and provided a fundamental context for urban forest planning and risk assessment.

More recently, Bain and his group have been collaborating with Grow Pittsburgh to evaluate the legacy metal contamination patterns in Pittsburgh soils. This effort will allow Grow Pittsburgh to safely establish urban agriculture, improving food security. In the longer term, this evaluation will dictate the safe use of infiltration based green infrastructure, as the geochemical interactions among stormwater and legacy metals in these systems is virtually non-existent.

Dan Bain is a 2017 Pitt Sustainability Award Winner (Faculty).