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The Effect of the Eradication of the Phragmites A ustralis on the Water Quality of the Lower Cove River Watershed. Abstract

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The Effect of the Eradication of the Phragmites Australis on the Water Quality of the Lower Cove River Watershed

Abstract

For the past 150 years, the concentration of the invasive Phragmites australis has dramatically increased around North America and damaged many environments. The invasive species, unsuitable for most wetlands wildlife, dominated Cove River located in West Haven for a substantial amount of time. However, with the assistance of a grant from the Watershed Research Tidal Restoration Program, this detrimental species has been eradicated from the Cove River estuary. This research aimed to study the water quality of Cove River to determine whether the quality has in fact improved. Data collected for this investigation was compared to data obtained prior to the obliteration of the invasive species. Since the Phragmites australisposed great threat to the environment, it was hypothesized that the water quality would improve with its removal, making the environment more habitable than before. To ascertain exactly how habitable the environment was, the pH, dissolved oxygen level, temperature, phosphate and nitrate levels of Cove River along with the growth of experimental plants planted on the marsh were documented biweekly. After studying this data, a conclusion of the current state of the water quality was constructed, testing the hypothesis. This research overall sought to demonstrate the precise impact of the Phragmites australison the tidal wetland. All research was conducted in accordance to GLOBE protocols.

Cove River

  • Data Analysis

  • Nitrate

  • Low levels are good

  • Excess levels make it difficult for organisms to survive

  • Higher in between treatment dates = excess algae or plant growth

  • Phosphate

  • Lower levels (<.3) = clean water

  • Cove River considered waste water

  • Highest after treatment = treatment causes pollution

  • Dissolved Oxygen Levels

  • Low = strained organisms

  • Fluctuates indicating that eradication has no impact

  • pH

  • Fluctuates around 7 = neutral

  • Eradication has no impact on acidity

  • Temperature

  • Normal expected temperatures

BEFORE

AFTER

Conclusion

An overall analysis of the environment of the Cove River thus far indicates that the eradication of the phragmites has benefited the environment. pH levels remain neutral, which is respectable for aquatic life and plant growth. The dissolved oxygen levels determined that the organisms of Cove River tend to endure stress but are mostly in a healthy habitat. Furthermore, the low nitrate levels indicate that not much algae resides in the river, while the high phosphate levels determine that the water is polluted. Despite the pollution of the water however, it is a habitable environment due to the eradication of the phragmites. This ongoing research will obtain further data from Cove River in order to formulate a complete thesis and conclusion. In all, from the preliminary data, it can be seen that the eradication of the Phragmites australis has benefited Cove River.

Water Quality Data

  • Moving Forward

  • Monitor plant growth and regrowth

  • Measure water & soil salinity

  • Monitor return of desirable species

  • Continue to obtain data on water quality

Problem Statement

IV: The Eradication of the Phragmites australis

DV: The Water Quality of Cove River

Hypothesis: The eradication of phragmites has improved the water quality of the Cove River

Materials and Procedures

In order to test the temperature, pH level, dissolved oxygen levels, Vernier probes compatible with the LabQuest2 standalone interface were utilized. To measure the nitrate and phosphate levels, nitrate and phosphate caplets were used provided by simple kits specific to the task.


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