Discipline: Ecology Environmental and Earth Sciences
Millissa Knight - Virginia State University
The James River watershed, one of the largest contributors to the Chesapeake Bay watershed, stretches from the western border of Virginia east to the mouth of the river in the Hampton Roads area. The Appomattox River, which flows from Lake Chesdin to Hopewell Point, feeds into the James River. A successful nutrient and sediment reduction strategy will have significant impacts on the water quality of the creeks, streams, and rivers that feed into the James River and associate coastal basins. The hypothesis of this research is that trees intercept and absorb precipitation (up to 70%), that allows the slow absorption of the precipitation into the aquifer as opposed to allowing run off and erosion from the area. These urban trees can reduce the problem of water pollution by contaminates, such as the fertilizers and pesticides from the farming practices around the Appomattox River. The goal of this study is to determine the relationship of tree canopy, vegetation cover, and topography to the quantity of run off and the deposition of soil and chemical pollutants in the tested areas. The study sites included Lake Chesdin, the cities of Petersburg, Colonial Heights, and Hopewell, and Randolph Farms of Virginia State University. The methodology included tree inventory, mapping the location of the trees, water quality monitoring of the samples at the study sites, and entering all data into the ArcGIS software for analysis. For making the tree inventory, each tree was geo-tagged and measured for specifics such as the trunk’s diameter at breast height (DBH), height, and canopy breadth, and graded according to i-Tree eco specs (25ft upstream and downstream). I also documented the topography of the area and the shrub vegetation cover from the water edge to 25ft. away from the water’s edge. Using the books on Taxonomy and Trees of Virginia aided in the identification of the trees. The water quality was monitored for the following: nutrient contents (nitrates and phosphates) and pH by using the La Monte Water Quality Monitoring Equipment, turbidity by the Turbidometer, and dissolved oxygen meter (YSI 550A). The presentation will include the results on the location of urban trees and water quality parameters (nitrates, phosphates, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity) to interpret the importance of conservation of trees along the Appomattox River. By demonstrating the geospatial analysis of the tree canopy data and water quality data on ArcMap, interpretations will be made on the conservation of urban trees by property owners, city planning officials, farmers, and industries to plan for the planting of urban trees for the increase in buffering of water contamination to the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): The author acknowledges NIFA Capacity Building Grant on Urban Forestry (2012-38821-20153) and Marcus Comar (Project Director) for funding the research activities, Joel Kosi for assisting in field studies and Shobha Sriharan for serving as faculty advisor.
Faculty Advisor: Shobha Sriharan, email@example.com
Role: I traveled to all research study sites where I could collect data on urban trees and flora along the Appomattox River from Lake Chesdin, Ettrick, Petersburg, Hopewell Point to where the Appomattox River meets the James River. I collected water samples for water quality testing and compiled an inventory of the flora from each study site. The GPS points and geo-tagged pictures of the study sites were uploaded to ArcGIS and Google Earth to create maps of each location with date, tree inventory, and water quality parameters.