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 wetlands? 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] Optimal[Nitrogen] Agricultural land Urban land 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 Removal 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 species” Challenges in Introduction of Upstream Wetlands • 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 efficacy? – Is the installation of wetlands sustainable? Thank You!