Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wetland are vital to stream health

The Shiawassee River is indeed a unique resource of natural infrastructure
that needs continued support from those that appreciate it.
The following is taken from:

US Army Corps of Engineers
USACE – Detroit District 154
Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office
Sediment Transport Modeling Study
"Wetlands are very effective at improving water quality in streams, especially in reducing
pollutants such as nutrients and sediments. There is a cyclical relationship between the
health of wetlands and the water quality of the streams passing through them. The water
quality enhancing features of wetlands are only effective as long as the health of the
wetlands is maintained, including the geomorphic qualities and the vegetation. The key
properties of wetlands are primarily those that promote a prolonged travel time,
shallower flow and lower velocities.
Once these geomorphic and vegetative
characteristics are degraded, the flow accelerates, and the filtering mechanisms are no
longer effective."

"Urbanization often causes a shift in the flow patterns of a stream, and is
sometimes accompanied by increased presence of pollutants. The net result is the loss of
assimilative capacity of the wetland. It is possible to attain a balance such that the
wetland can effectively filter these pollutants without suffering adverse effects, as long as
the concentrations are in a manageable range for the given soils and vegetation."

When a developer drains an area of wetlands for new real estate development
- stop and think hard  about maintaining natural resource infrastructure.
With some forethought and pre-planning it is possible to create a win-win scenario for both sides.
I urge people to speak, write and communicate concerns to local, state and federal governments.
Once a natural resource is lost - it is next to impossible to rebuild it exactly,  as it once existed.

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