Examples of Ongoing Research Projects
Assessing the effectiveness of urban riparian floodplains to attenuate contaminant loads in urban stream networks
Urbanization has led to wide-spread degradation of streams and their riparian zones, both in terms of habitat structure and ecosystem functions. Urban streams are often straightened, channelized, and armored; no longer have intact riparian floodplains; and receive direct discharge of storm water through road drains. The result is streams with greater inputs of contaminants and limited capacity for contaminant attenuation, with the greatest impact on headwater streams, which regulate stream water quality and solute export at the watershed scale. Restoring and preserving urban streams are increasingly common strategies to improve poor water quality. We are assessing how degraded and natural (or ‘reference’) reaches of urban streams process and transport urban contaminants, including road salt and nutrients. As a complementary goal, we are establishing a permanent outdoor laboratory at Meadowbrook Creek, in Syracuse, NY, to promote education and research on urban hydrology and water quality. To see current water quality and stage information along Meadowbrook Creek, check out our live streaming data!
Impacts of natural and analogue beaver dams on landscape resiliency
The Wyoming Chapter of TNC has installed Beaver Dam Analogues (BDA) to test the effects they have on controlling both in-stream hydrology and seasonally driven hydrologic events in semi-arid headwater streams. The BDAs were constructed as part of the land and water management plan for Red Canyon Ranch, a TNC property that is managed as a livestock ranch. We have done a hydrologic assessment of the impacts of BDAs on adjacent wetlands and floodplains.