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 Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

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: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Complete skin regeneration system of fish unraveled

24.04.2018 | Life Sciences

Scientists create innovative new 'green' concrete using graphene

24.04.2018 | Materials Sciences

BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

24.04.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>