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W2 AM Chesapeake Bay Restoration (Part 1)
(GRO-1117-812083) The bio-geo-socio-chemistry of urban watersheds.
Groffman, Peter1, 1 Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, NY, USA
ABSTRACT- Increases in impervious surface associated with urbanization lead to development of an 'urban stream syndrome' with physical degradation of the stream and riparian zone, declines in water quality and changes in biota. This degradation motivates a variety of human responses ranging from regulation to address pollutant delivery to receiving waters (e.g. Chesapeake Bay), to the formation of neighborhood groups concerned about children playing in polluted streams. These groups can serve as catalysts for social cohesion and community action that can foster ecological and socio-economic revitalization of underserved neighborhoods. In the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, one of two urban long-term ecological research (LTER) projects funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, we are using 'the watershed approach' to integrate ecological, physical and social sciences. Watersheds are a natural (and well-used) physical unit for ecological research and can also function as a focus for human-environment interactions. In this talk I review 1) how urbanization results in degradation of water quality, stream and riparian ecosystems; 2) how this degradation can motivate human action and 3) how restoration can serve as a catalyst for environmental and socio-economic revitalization of underserved areas. Using examples ranging from nitrate dynamics in riparian zones, to the role of urban trees as absorbers of air pollution, to the creation of a trail along a historic stream corridor, I will illustrate how changes in highly visible components of the environment (streams) can be used as a tool to improve the design and implementation of ecosystem restoration to achieve multiple objectives.
Key words: urban, watershed, riparian, nitrate
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