February 6, 2023

Futureality

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UF researchers to study stormwater pond advantages | Regional News

Stormwater ponds are ubiquitous in the urban and suburban Florida landscape, with additional than 70,000 these types of ponds in the state. Developers and urban planners use stormwater ponds to capture storm runoff and protect against flooding and erosion, but they can also provide other positive aspects, these types of as cutting down air pollution and improving community aesthetics and assets values. These other benefits, and how they interact with each other, are not properly understood.

Which is why commencing this month, a workforce of scientists at the University of Florida will embark on a multi-yr project to evaluate stormwater ponds’ environmental, social and financial rewards, collectively known as ecosystem services. A just about $1.6 million grant from the Countrywide Science Basis will fund the effort and hard work.

“While stormwater ponds are pretty very similar to pure ponds and lakes biologically speaking, the fact that they are these types of a visible and common portion of our every day life in Florida indicates that we have a ton much more affect on them and that, in switch, influences the ecosystem expert services they provide,” A.J. Reisinger, an assistant professor in the UF/IFAS office of soil, h2o and ecosystem sciences, stated, who is leading the venture.

“In addition, as Florida and the rest of the region carries on to urbanize, we’re likely to see extra stormwater ponds,” Reisinger, who is also portion of the UF H2o Institute and the UF/IFAS Center for Land Use Performance, said. “With this project, we will research stormwater ponds’ environmental impact and nearby residents’ attitudes towards these ponds, utilizing these insights to produce approaches to enhance the ponds’ all round ecosystem solutions.”

The undertaking team involves ecologists, water quality and algae experts, social scientists, economists and Extension brokers. This variety of approaches will help the team produce a in depth photograph of stormwater ponds’ benefits to individuals and the natural environment.

The team’s social experts and economists will look into how distinct groups, these types of as owners and regulators, recognize and evaluate the purpose and benefits of stormwater ponds, as effectively as how proximity to stormwater ponds impacts residence values.

Ecologists and water quality experts will staff up with Extension agents and community substantial university teachers to observe water excellent in stormwater ponds. They will use this facts to comprehend the organic and chemical processes that happen in stormwater ponds that impact the forms of algae that surface in ponds and how well the ponds clear away vitamins and minerals.

“Recent research suggests that stormwater ponds may well not take out as much of the vitamins that stream into them as we imagined, so we want (to) know what allows ponds to clear away nutrition and how to make those people procedures a lot more efficient,” Reisinger explained.

Lastly, the researchers will bring all these insights collectively to reveal how people’s perceptions of stormwater ponds impact the way they are managed, steps that, in transform, affect the pond’s over-all ecosystem expert services.

The scientists will conduct area operate, concentrate teams, surveys and info assortment equally at the point out level and in two communities in Manatee and St. Lucie counties that have a substantial range of stormwater ponds and exactly where algae blooms have been a the latest problem.

Reisinger explained the undertaking will emphasis on stormwater ponds in Florida, but the outcomes could use to other pieces of the region with stormwater ponds or other ecosystems developed and preserved by individuals.

The challenge workforce incorporates the pursuing college users, numerous of whom are also affiliated with the UF Water Institute:

A.J. Reisinger, assistant professor, division of soil, water, and ecosystem sciences

Dail Laughinghouse, assistant professor, Fort Lauderdale Research and Schooling Center and agronomy department

Hayk Khachatryan, affiliate professor, Mid-Florida Research and Schooling Center, meals and resource economics section

Paul Monaghan, associate professor, division of agricultural instruction and conversation

Olesya Savchenko, assistant professor, foodstuff and source economics department

Michelle Atkinson, environmental horticulture agent, UF/IFAS Extension Manatee County

Eban Bean, assistant professor, office of agricultural and biological engineering

Basil Iannone, assistant professor, Faculty of Forest, Fisheries, and Geomatics Sciences

Sam Smidt, assistant professor, section of soil, drinking water, and ecosystem sciences