Wetland Science News
By Carrian Storrs – Environment 360 – March 16, 2015
Rising high in the San Bernardino Mountains in Southern California, the Santa Ana River flows westward through cities and towns with a total population of nearly 5 million. Along the way, it receives so much sewage that 90 percent of its flow during the dry summer season is effluent, which is cleaned again and again at several dozen wastewater treatment plants. Near the end of its 96-mile course, the Santa Ana comes to a seeming standstill in the Prado Wetlands. Covering 425 acres, the wetlands site — designed by engineers — consists of a series of rectangular ponds, through which the river’s gentle flow is controlled by dam-like weir boxes. It takes about a week for water to traverse the wetlands, during which time cattails and other vegetation help remove nitrogen, phosphorous, and other contaminants. For full story, click here.
By Daniel Strain – Bay Journal – April 13, 2015
Whitbeck is a wildlife biologist at the Blackwater refuge, which occupies around 28,000 acres of forests, marshes and water in Dorchester County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Today, he’s interested in the transitions that are occurring across this landscape. Over the decades, Lake Blackwater — which occupies around 4,000 acres at the center portion of the refuge — has grown bigger and bigger, Whitbeck said. And acres and acres that were once marshland have been covered in water, killing off the plants there. For full article, click here.
By Bob Berwyn – Summit County Citizens Voice – March 30, 2015
A new study by researchers at Waterloo University supports the EPA’s proposed new rule for protecting discontinuous wetlands by showing that those smaller marshy patches function best as a group. Interconnected pockets of wetlands form a landscape mosaic which provide unique habitat and safe breeding grounds for species such as salamanders and migratory birds. Many traditional wetlands conservation projects tend to overlook that “edge” function and mistakenly focus on preserving only total wetland area, with no consideration of ecosystem services provided by different wetland types. The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Ecological Applications, shows wetland loss follows a strong pattern, with smaller, isolated wetlands being lost in much greater numbers than larger wetlands. For full story, click here.
By Allison Mills – Michigan Tech – March 11, 2015
Fluorescent bands of color outline the Great Lakes on a new, comprehensive map of the region’s coastal wetlands. This publicly available map is the first of its kind on such a broad scale — and the only one to trump political boundaries. Both Canadian and US wetlands are shown along more than 10,000 miles of shoreline. The Great Lakes is an important focus of Michigan Technological University research. The coastal wetlands map is an extension of that focus, expanding on previous maps created through the Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI). Laura Bourgeau-Chavez, MTRI research scientist and the project leader for the wetlands map, says establishing standard methods was crucial. “This is the first map to span the entire basin, and it’s important to have a consistent map over the entire area,” she says, explaining that inconsistencies impact data analysis and implementation of management strategies “if you don’t know the accuracy of the map or how it’s changing from one place to another.” For full story, click here.
By Joachim Pestinger – The Seattle Times Opinion – February 19, 2015
When the rain-swollen waters of the Puyallup River rose rapidly this winter, the town of Orting braced itself for flooding. In 2006, and again in 2009, the river topped its levees and sent people fleeing from homes, businesses and schools in cities all the way to the Port of Tacoma. But this time, something different happened. The river found new man-made channels created when the old levees were torn out and replaced with new earthen berms set farther back. The river had room to spread out, slow down, and it stayed within the levees, leaving Orting safe and dry. Taming Western Washington rivers such as the Puyallup is not easy nor cheap, but new management strategies can save millions of dollars in property losses and damage, create critical salmon habitat and add valuable public open space. For full opinion, click here.
By Bob Weber – Guelph Mercury.com – February 18, 2015
A U.S. study has found that emissions from ships that cause both climate change and acid rain could increase in the Western Arctic by almost 600 per cent over the next decade. "All of those pollutants have climate and health implications," said co-author Alyson Azzara. "The fact that it's growing that much, that rapidly, is the focus." For full story, click here.
PHYS.org – February 16, 2015
The role rainforests play through storing carbon in the battle against climate change is well understood, but Deakin University scientists now believe the humble swamp, or freshwater wetland, could be up to 50 times more effective. A team of Deakin researchers from Deakin's Centre for Integrative Ecology within the School of Life and Environmental Sciences are now undertaking an Australian-first study to investigate how wetland areas could help us to win the battle against climate change. For full story, click here.