Watershed Restoration

Quality, not Quantity, Important to Preservation

 Tidal Marshes, Sapelo Island (destination360.com)

Tidal Marshes, Sapelo Island (destination360.com)

     A new study from Duke University and the University of Massachusetts at Boston says that the preservation of “key species” is vital to the preservation of ecosystems. The study was conducted in a salt marsh on Sapelo Island, Georgia; three main “consumer species” were introduced and removed in different combinations. No matter the combination, when all three were present the marsh functioned better in three key areas (more growth, sufficient decomposition and water filtration).

     "Having a group of distantly related species, representing markedly different ecologies and biology, is as important, or more important, than just having more species in general," said Brian R. Silliman, Rachel Carson associate professor of marine conservation biology at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment.

How Weather Can Complicate Invasives

 Source: dnr.wi.gov

Source: dnr.wi.gov

     Bruce Jaggers, invasive plant biologist from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, surveyed Lake Roosseau; a storm had recently passed, and now uprooted globs of invasive hydrilla floated along the surface. Hydrilla, as you may know, spreads by fragmentation, and the recent storm had just helped this process along.

     Treating the hydrilla beds along the shoreline, he spoke about the necessity of controlling the invasive (along with water lettuce and water hyacinth, both of which are present in the lake). "Without treating them within a matter of months, they could cover over the whole water body."

     And while some residents disagree with what they call "aggressive treatments," others few them as necessary. Jo Hatton, owner of an RV park at the lake's shore, says that she has noticed the hydrilla's encroachment on the boat docks. "I mean, you know, the growth can be really remarkable. So I think we'd be sort of locked in [without it]."

     For the full article from wuft.org click here or on the link available below.

Beavers to Reduce Nitrogen Levels?

 Algonquin Beaver Dam (en.wikipedia.org).

Algonquin Beaver Dam (en.wikipedia.org).

     Scientists at the University of Rhode Island have found out that beavers and the dams they build are capable of reducing nitrogen levels by as much as 45%. Which is an important finding, as excess nitrogen can contribute to harmful algal blooms (HABs) and reduced water quality. 

     And at the moment, scientists are trying to recreate this affect; small scale studies involving soda bottles have been successful, and now scientists want to build man-made, full size versions (using organic materials) to see if the affect can be reproduced.  

     Check out the full article here