Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Potomac River: Ten-fold Increase in Native Submerged Vegetation Reflects Improved Water Quality

08.09.2010
The report, “Long-term reductions in anthropogenic nutrients link to improvements in Chesapeake Bay habitat is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The Potomac River in Washington, D.C. is showing multiple benefits from restoration efforts, newly published research suggests. Reduced nutrients and improved water clarity have increased the abundance and diversity of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) in the Potomac, according to direct measurements taken during the 18-year field study.

Since 1990, the area covered by SAV in the lower Potomac has doubled, the area covered by native SAV has increased ten-fold, the diversity of plant species has increased, and the proportion of exotic species to native species has declined as nutrients have declined, according to the study by the U.S. Geological Survey and England’s National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in Southhampton, UK.

“Improvements to plant communities living at the bottom of the river have occurred nearly in lock step with decreases in nutrients and sediment in the water and incremental reductions in nitrogen effluent entering the river from the wastewater treatment plant for the Washington DC area,” said USGS scientist Dr. Nancy Rybicki.

More than a dozen species of SAV, including the exotic hydrilla, co-exist in this reach of the Potomac that was almost barren in a 1978-1981 USGS study.

“People want to know that money spent on ecosystem restoration is having tangible results, but many feel that efforts to clean up Chesapeake Bay have so far had limited success,” said researcher Dr Henry Ruhl of the NOC.

“Upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant have benefited SAV habitats 50-miles downstream. These findings underscore the benefits of nutrient reduction efforts on a major tributary to the Chesapeake Bay,” said Rybicki, who has been conducting research on the Potomac since 1979.

“Our results suggest that widespread recovery of submerged vegetation abundance and diversity can be achievable if restoration efforts are enhanced across the bay,” said Henry Ruhl of the National Oceanography Centre. “There are many other estuaries globally where nutrients have been identified as contributing to SAV habitat decline, so restoration is an issue for many governments.”

SAV are critical to the ecosystem in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. They provide oxygen, food, and shelter so that invertebrates, fish, crabs and waterfowl can survive. High nutrient levels stimulate algal blooms in the water, decrease water clarity, and block light needed for SAV growth.

The authors analyzed measurements of aquatic plant species abundance, nutrient effluent from the wastewater treatment plant, and water quality from 1990 to 2007. The surveys included a 50-mile reach of the tidal Potomac downstream from Washington.

Key Findings on the Potomac River’s SAV:

Native SAV cover increased tenfold from 288 to 3081 acres.

The overall area covered by SAV in the Potomac more than doubled since 1990, increasing from 4207 to 8441 acres.

The diversity of SAV has increased. In 1990 the exotic hydrilla was 10 times more abundant than any other species. In 2007 the abundance of the 7 most frequently occurring species are more evenly matched.

In 1990, more than 80% of the total SAV was hydrilla; in 2007 hydrilla declined to 20%.

Results suggest declining fitness of exotic species relative to native species during restoration.

These results are consistent with a multi-agency study released in July, which correlated nutrient reductions with gains in the abundance of SAV in some Chesapeake Bay tributaries, while noting a negative correlation within the bay between SAV and nitrogen.

The study was supported by USGS National Research Program; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore; the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s Aquatic Plant Management Program; and the Fisheries Division of the District of Columbia Department of Health.

Diane Noserale | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.usgs.gov

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht NASA sees the end of ex-Tropical Cyclone 02W
21.04.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht New research unlocks forests' potential in climate change mitigation
21.04.2017 | Clemson University

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>