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On Monday, Crozier & Associates Partner and Senior Water Resources Engineer Nick Mocan presented alongside Dr. Kevin Stevens of Wilfrid Laurier University at the 2019 CWRA National Conference on how targeted vegetation plantings can be used to enhance water quality treatment in stormwater management facilities.
Their presentation covered the last 8 months of site visits, vegetation surveys, and water sampling at a stormwater management (SWM) pond near a subdivision in the Credit Valley Conservation Authority watershed. Dr. Stevens, an expert in wetland plant ecology, discussed the science behind how plants can contribute to water quality treatment, the types of vegetation found at the site, and preliminary water quality analysis results. Mocan drew on his expertise in stormwater management to review the impact of climate change on SWM facility inputs, hydrology, and hydraulics. Mocan also highlighted how this multi-disciplinary research can help stormwater facilities cope with the effects of a changing climate.
Preliminary results show that vegetation in the subject SWM pond is performing nutrient removal year-round, but that removal rates are diminished during colder periods. However, there appear to be increasing removal efficiencies as vegetation begins to re-establish itself. Vegetation surveys also noted that volunteer species are contributing to increased species richness, but these plants may not all be desirable.
The second stage of this project will involve developing targeted planting mixes based on local hydrologic, hydraulic, and environmental conditions. We anticipate these mixes will provide improved water quality treatment in SWM facilities, prevent incursions of invasive plant species, and contribute to the reduction of nutrient loading in urban stormwater that reaches lakes and streams.