Saturday, October 20, 2012

Municipal Stadium Wetland, Springfield Ohio

Probing wetland prior to sampling.
The Municipal Stadium Wetlands were created by a levee failure in 1937.  The levee break remained unfixed and the wetlands were created by subsequent inundation.  Additional flooding was allowed in the last two years by the incision of a flood bank of Buck Creek that drains into the wetland. (This resulted from class project work by geology students working with Dr. John Ritter).  

Dr. John Ritter and his students have installed instrumentation in the wetland to monitor changes in water stage, pH, ORP, temperature, and turbidity (See Fact Sheet). There is interest in the site from the City of Springfield Wetland Article by Tom Stafford

While the size of the wetland is small, nutrient (fertilizer) management continues to be a huge problem for the Mississippi River Basin.  Low-cost mitigation options might include targeting riparian areas of streams like Buck Creek for additional innundation and wetland creation. This site is ideal for study because watersheds like the Upper Great Miami that have among the highest nutrient loads (Combined Sewage Overflow & agricultural runoff).In fact, our class plotted data from a recent USGS study showing that the Great Miami is in the top 30 N and P loading watersheds of 800 that feed the Mississippi River basin and in the top 5 for watersheds in Ohio.

Geology of the Critical Zone is conducting a baseline study of the nitrate and phosphate concentrations in the wetlands during the drier period of the early fall. An upper-level projects class will conduct temporal sampling during the Spring Semester when the wetland will flood.  This class will expand investigations of nitrate and phosphate and also examine chemical weathering (and its role in climate change). It is relatively unknown how mineral weathering is altered by the presence of wetlands, and yet this process regulated the earth's temperature over geologic timescales.
Buck Creek adjacent to the Municipal Stadium Wetland.
Discussing where to collect nutrient samples.

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