Team Justice

Water Quality Mitigation
Through Upstream Wetland Restoration In
The Potomac River Watershed
Leonardo Calle
Katherine He
Christina De Jesus Angel Lopez
Whitney Quinn
Meghan McAvoy
Harmful Impacts of Nitrogen Containing
Compounds in Stream Ecosystems
Nitrate is a contaminant in soil and water over the world and increases
chances of birth defects and bladder cancer in women.
Therefore detection of these reactive species is a major concern as it
degrades ecosystem services.
Pertinent Questions
Q1: How is the presence of agricultural
fields related with water quality?
Q2: Where could wetlands be introduced to
best mitigate nitrogen levels?
Q3: How does the efficacy of upstream
wetlands compare to that of tidal
How Do Wetlands Work?
Effects of Tidal Wetlands on Nitrogen
Level Mediation
Definitions and Methods
• Wetlands
– Generally, wetlands are lands where saturation with water is
the dominant factor determining the nature of soil development
and the types of plant and animal communities living in the soil
and on its surface (Cowardin, December 1979).
• Methods
– Correlating land cover data and nitrogen Loads
Nitrogen Loads and Land Cover
High [Nitrogen]
Lower [Nitrogen]
Nitrogen Loads and Land Cover
Wetlands as Transplanted Kidneys
STA’s have reduced phosphorous levels
flowing into the greater Everglades from
150-100 ppb to ~30 ppb
Total Area is Key
Efficiency of nutrient removal is dependent primarily on total
wetland area and flow rate
Treatment: Wetland Nitrogen
Non-riverine wet hardwood forest, down stream
of North River Farms, North Carolina
Comparison of average total nitrogen concentration
in the restored wetland to the reference wetland and
the agriculture drainage canal
Probable Upstream Wetland Locations for
Water Quality Improvement
Literature Indicates Significant
Environmental Role of Headwater
Wetland Habitats
• Current assumption:
– Effects of tidal wetlands
would be the same if
translated upstream
• Case studies
– In Hungary, “headwater
wetlands play an important
role in reducing runoff,
improving water quality, and
as important landscapeecological barriers for certain
Challenges in Introduction of Upstream
• Literature discusses
existing upstream
wetlands in Hungary,
Slovakia, Poland
– Generally, peat-lands –
partially decayed
organic matter
• Questions
– How do the varying
characteristics of
wetlands affect
– Is the installation of
wetlands sustainable?
Thank You!