Discipline: Ecology Environmental and Earth Sciences
Samantha Rodriguez - Virginia State University
Co-Author(s): Shobha Sriharan, Laren Robinson, and Joel Kosi, Virginia State University, Petersburg, VA
In this proposal, we propose to apply the innovative place-based and problem-based education strategy, and use the Appomattox Watershed as natural laboratory to infuse Chesapeake Bay concerns into environmental education/instruction. With runoff of chemicals, the structure and function of Chesapeake Bay watershed are expected to be altered due to changes in nutrient delivery. Appomattox River flows through the Agricultural Experimental Randolph Farm of Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia. Due to agricultural practices at Randolph Farm and neighboring farms in Petersburg, the pollutants enter the Appomattox River which meets the James River at Hopewell Point. Since James River is one of the five rivers forming the watershed of Chesapeake Bay, the environmental pollution is of concern to the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Commission. The Appomattox River flows Lake Chesdin, through Petersburg, Ettrick, Colonial Heights, and Hopewell Point where it meets James River. The urban and industrial storm water carry pollutants and suspended solids/sediments, pesticides and herbicides into the rivers and adversely affect aquatic organisms and water quality. During rainstorms, water can overload the storm-sewer system, resulting in polluted runoff into the Appomattox River. The hypothesis of this research is that trees reduce the problem of water pollution by capturing rain and storm water which may carry pollutants such as the fertilizers from the farming practices around the Appomattox River. Therefore, this research was undertaken to identify the trees from the Lake Chesdin (west of Appomattox River) to Hopewell Point (where Appomattox River meets James River). Studies were undertaken by visiting Lake Chesdin, River Road in Ettrick, Petersburg, Randolph Farm of Virginia State University, Colonial Heights, Chesterfield County, Hopewell City, and Hopewell City. The Tree Inventory was prepared by geo-tagging trees, physical characteristics such as breadth and height of trees, and canopy breadth and integrating the data into i-Tree Eco. The identification of these trees was made by using the books on Taxonomy and Trees of Virginia. The water quality monitoring was conducted by collecting water samples at study sites between Lake Chesdin and Hopewell Point. The presentation will include comparison of water quality measurement data with tree profile at the study sites.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): NSF HBCU UP Grant for funding of fall semester research
Faculty Advisor: Shobha Sriharan,