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Spatial and Temporal Environmental Conditions in the Chicago Area Waterways System: Building a Foundation for Multidisciplinary Research Principal Investigators: Christopher Peterson (IES) Reuben Keller (IES) Tham Hoang (IES) Timothy Hoellein (Department of Biology) John Kelly (Department of Biology) Catherine Putonti (Department of Computer Science/Department of Biology) Co-Investigator: David Treering (IES; Department of Computer Science) Students: Paul Stasiuk, LUC 2013, (Department of Computer Science) Funding Provided by: Internal Loyola University Multidisciplinary Stimulation Grant
Background • Over 100 miles of rivers and canals form the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS), which connects two of the world’s largest freshwater ecosystems, Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes with the Mississippi River • The CAWS includes the Chicago River, the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, the Cal-Sag Channel and the Calumet Rivers. • The CAWS is a highly heterogeneous ecosystem that has been extensively modified. • Anthropogenic changes to the CAWS, such as alterations in climate, wastewater treatment and management, land use, human demography, and physical structure, will have dynamic impacts on ecosystem and public health in this urbanized environment and beyond.
Data Collected • Illinois Environmental Protection Agency • Ambient Water Quality data is available for 2003 to present • Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago • Ambient Water Quality Monitoring program has 30-50 sites each year for the years 1972-2011 • Inorganic Sediment Chemistryis measured at 10-15 sites per year for 2002-2001 • Physical Characteristics of streams and channels and the changes that have taken place • Benthic Invertebrates includes over 200 species, reported as a count, density and percentage for years 2001-2011 • Fish Surveys are done at around 70 stations, with one quarter done each year, for a four year rotation for the years 2001-2011 • City of Chicago Department of Water Management • Raw and Finished Lake Michigan Drinking Water intake is available at Jardine and South Water Treatment Plants • US Geological Survey & US Army Corps of Engineers • Discharge Rate and Gage Height are available at many sites throughout the country from 2007 to 20012 • National Water-Quality Assessment Program • Groundwaterand water quality measurements • Other local sampling and monitoring efforts
Overall Objectives • Develop an extensive database that is accessible by the public, reporting results from sample locations • Conduct interdisciplinary research on the resulting database • Analyze new and relevant threats to human health including hormones, pesticides and pharmaceuticals in water • Engage the public and K-12 students in collecting samples in their neighborhoods • Inform decisions and policies developed by policy makers, and water quality managers • Enhance existing water monitoring programs by increasing key sites where measurements will be taken, and including new environmental threats in our monitoring
Objective: to develop a database • Create a unified, standardized database of abiotic and biotic characteristics • Abiotic • Physical structure and morphology; Chemical measurements • Biotic • Microbes; Algae; Benthic Invertebrates; Fish • Create a web interface for access to this database • Build “source-agnostic” data import capability • Build data query, analysis and visualization application
System Logic Flow Data Contributors • Importing collected agency data will be initially done by us at Loyola • We will cultivate the user base among agencies and the public • Standardized data can be fed to USEPA’s system, WQX
Applications and Uses • This unique database will facilitate spatiotemporal analyses of abiotic and biotic gradients across the CAWS allowing us to understand: • Heavy metal pollution • Dr. Tham Hoang will conduct a risk assessment of metal contaminants present in the sediments and water of the CAWS. • Invasive species movement • Dr. Reuben Keller will assess which areas of the CAWS can support different invasive species, and what that means for future invasions. • Nutrient dynamics • Dr. Timothy Hoellein will address nutrient dynamics in aquatic ecosystems over time and space, and will investigate how land-use patterns across the Chicago region affect these dynamics.