2012 S3: Jessica Franks

Comparison of Constructed vs. Natural Wetlands

Wetland mitigation represents a vital tool to increase the number and extent of wetlands. However, there is uncertainty as to how constructed wetlands compare to natural wetlands. This study’s objective is to evaluate the constructed wetlands on Allendale GVSU campus constructed at two times—2011 and 2009, and compare these to wetlands constructed in the mid ‘80’s. The GVSU wetlands were not specifically constructed to mitigate for wetland loss; rather they are a proactive attempt to reduce erosion from excessive stormwater runoff in the GVSU ravines. Macroinvertebrates are currently being identified having been sampled following rapid bioassessment protocols used by the Michigan DNR. Preliminary results indicate the closer the wetlands are to parking lot runoff, the larger the percent of midge larvae (Chironomidae) and the lower the diversity. Environmental data indicates specific conductance and turbidity are significantly higher in the most recently constructed wetlands, while   sites constructed in 2009 and the mid ‘80’s are comparable. Although preliminary, this indicates that wetland function can rapidly evolve.

Faculty Mentor: Eric Snyder, Biology

Jessica Franks