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Assessing the Development of Ecosystem Services in Constructed Stormwater Wetlands

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2012 Dallas, Texas, July 29 - August 1, 2012  121337771.(doi:10.13031/2013.41815)
Authors:   Laura S Merriman, William F Hunt
Keywords:   ecosystem services, stormwater management, biodiversity, carbon sequestration.

Stormwater control measures (SCMs) such as constructed stormwater wetlands (CSWs) are designed to regulate runoff hydrology and quality. In addition to these functions, these engineered ecosystems also provide a range of other benefits, or ecosystem services. Research on these additional services is in its infancy; the initial development of ecosystem services is of interest since it may inform future CSW designs. In this study, the development of ecosystem services, including biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and cultural services, will be assessed for two CSWs in North Carolina over a 3-year time period. The first CSW is located in Cary, NC. Its surface area is of 0.32 hectares and has a highly urbanized contributing catchment of 7.69 hectares. The second CSW is to be located in New Bern, NC with a surface area of 11.33 hectares and a partially urbanized contributing watershed of 311.61 hectares. Biodiversity will be quantified in terms of the richness and Shannon diversity index for vegetative and aquatic macroinvertebrate communities. Carbon sequestration will be estimated spatially and temporally through the changes in carbon content of the wetland sediments. Cultural services will be qualitatively assessed based on the potential for recreational and educational opportunities at each site. Monitoring and sampling of the Cary CSW commenced in November 2011, 3 months after construction was finished. Sampling frequency will be bi-monthly throughout the study, with increased frequency of biodiversity (monthly) sampling in the spring and summer months of the first growing season. Sampling of the New Bern CSW will commence in Fall of 2012, immediately after construction is completed. This study will provide a more detailed tracking of the development of these services over time instead of previously reported studies which typically just substituted space for time.

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