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Paul Ziemkiewicz

Director, West Virginia Water Research Institute

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Phone: 304-293-6958

  • Watershed
  • Water
  • Mining
  • Shale Gas
  • Energy
  • Environmental Technology
  • Surface and Groundwater
  • Coal Combustion Residues
  • Acid Mine Drainage
  • Mine Reclamation

At an early age, Dr. Paul Ziemkiewicz was steeped in curiosity about how the world worked. He learned that science, particularly the scientific method, could provide rational answers to his questions about the environment. “It’s a set of skills that allow a person to separate fact from fiction.” Growing up in the Appalachian Mountains of Western Pennsylvania provided him many opportunities to discover facts about nature.

Ziemkiewicz joined in the Energy and Water Research Center—EI/NRCCE’s predecessor—in 1988 as a Program Coordinator. Later that year, he became Director of the new National Mine Land Reclamation Center. In 1991, he led the reorganization of the water and environmental research programs into the West Virginia Water Research Institute (WVWRI).

As director of WVWRI, Ziemkiewicz responsibilities focus on addressing high priority environmental issues by developing research opportunities, assembling and managing research teams, and responding to the needs of sponsors. In addition to his research roles, he serves on both state and federal policy advisory committees focusing on energy and water. Ziemkiewicz is a member of the West Virginia Acid Mine Drainage Task Force, the Eastern Mine Drainage Federal Consortium and the West Virginia Special Reclamation Trust Fund Advisory Council.

He holds a BS in biology and an MS in range ecology from Utah State University and a PhD in forest ecology from the University of British Columbia.

True to his roots, Ziemkiewicz has quite the taste for adventure—often engaging in what his co-workers have heard him call “die-like-a-man activities.” Whether he is trail running, mountain biking, or even deep-sea kayaking, the environmental issues that affect Appalachia and our entire planet surround him. He is intent on finding solutions to efficient energy production technology, revitalizing communities, and protecting the environment. For his efforts, Ziemkiewicz received the E.M. Watkin Award in 1985 for Outstanding Contribution to the Betterment of Land Reclamation in Canada, presented by the Canadian Reclamation Association. In 2005, he received the Environmental Conservation Distinguished Service Award, presented by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration.