Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Road salt affects mitigation wetlands

24.05.2005


Sacrificing one wetland for the sake of five others may be the way to go when planning constructed wetlands to replace those destroyed during road building, but a Penn State Erie biologist is monitoring the salinity of the wetlands to see how the salt affects animals and insects.



"I am currently doing research in wetlands that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation constructed as mitigation wetlands to replace all the ones that were destroyed by the new road," says Dr. Pamela Silver, professor of biology, Penn State Erie, the Behrend College.

In November 2003, PennDOT completed a four-lane highway connecting Interstate 90 with the Erie waterfront. A portion of the road crossed the Penn State Erie campus. PennDOT asked researchers if they wanted to use the road building as an opportunity to do research.


"PennDOT has really gone out of their way to consider the environmental impact of what they have done," says Silver. "They have been extremely good about talking to the college to minimize the effects of having a road across campus and have gone out of their way to be as environmentally responsible as possible."

When building the section of road across the Behrend campus, PennDOT installed an elaborate drainage system beneath the road to collect all the runoff. The water goes to only one of the six constructed wetlands and eventually runs downhill through woodlands.

Silver is monitoring two PennDOT-installed data loggers to measure the amounts of salt that enter the designated runoff wetland and one other that is slightly affected by splashover from salt spreading and snow melting. The data loggers record salinity hourly.

"Salt levels in the runoff wetland reach peaks that are half as salty as sea water," Silver told attendees at the North American Benthological Meeting today (May 24) at the 2005 Joint Assembly in New Orleans. "We recorded peaks during the winter as high as 10 to 12 parts per thousand in the runoff wetland and 2.5 to 3 parts per thousand in the other affected wetland." Freshwater has zero salinity, while seawater has a salinity of about 28 parts per thousand.

Silver has also tested all six wetlands for salinity and looked in bottom sediment for non-biting midge populations because midges are good indicators of stress.

"Last year all the wetlands went back to zero salinity in mid spring," says Silver. "We are not sure if this will continue as we do not know if the baseline will creep up from salt deposited in the sediment."

She does not know if the salt levels will again fall back to zero in mid spring this year as Erie had its last snowfall on May 2 and had a three-foot snowfall in late April.

"PennDOT is between a rock and a hard place," says Silver. "Everyone knows that the salt is not good for the environment, but salting roads is a huge safety issue in a part of the country that gets 10 to 12 feet of snow every winter."

Silver’s research does show a large decrease in non-biting midges in the designated runoff wetland. The effect on other species is not yet known. There was no decrease in midges from the slightly salty wetland. In general, freshwater organisms are not very salt tolerant. The Penn State researcher has students poised to look at the numbers and species of algae, amphibians, insects and bacteria in the salty and freshwater wetlands.

"We would like to know how big a hit these two wetlands are going to take from the salt. We see an effect on the midges in the runoff receiving wetland, but so far there is no effect on the slightly salty one," says Silver. "One thing we would like to see is what happens to bullfrog tadpoles and dragonflies that overwinter in the sediment mud."

The researcher would also like to sample the soil where the runoff eventually leaves the wetland to see if salt is building up there.

A’ndrea Elyse Messer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psu.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Transport of molecular motors into cilia

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones

28.03.2017 | Information Technology

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>