Constructing Nature An Analysis of the Costs and Benefits of Artificial Wetlands Jordan Senia
The Nature of Nature <ul><li>What does it mean to be “natural”? </li></ul><ul><li>Human impacts on the planet have resulte...
The Nature of Nature <ul><li>All these habitats fail to retain many of the original ecosystem services </li></ul><ul><li>W...
Mass Urbanization <ul><li>The proportion of the population living in urban areas is expected to increase to 82 per cent by...
Climate Change <ul><li>Increasing frequency of flooding events </li></ul><ul><li>Emergency planning is essential to mitiga...
<ul><li>SOLUTIONS? </li></ul>
Bring Nature Back!  Create Wetlands?
Why Create Wetlands? <ul><li>Wetlands combine beauty and function </li></ul><ul><li>Engineered to optimize ecosystem servi...
Habitat <ul><li>One third of all endangered species dependent on wetlands (Environmental Concern Inc) </li></ul><ul><li>Pr...
Flood Attenuation <ul><li>Wetlands collect and store influent water, which is then slowly released </li></ul><ul><li>Repla...
Groundwater Recharge <ul><li>Fresh water crisis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Replenishing sources is critical </li></ul></ul><ul>...
Wastewater Treatment <ul><li>Uptake of toxins </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Typha latifolia (cattail), Phalaris arundinaceae (reed...
Wastewater Treatment
Aesthetics
Education
Why Not Create Wetlands? <ul><li>Disease </li></ul><ul><ul><li>May provide breeding ground for mosquitoes </li></ul></ul><...
Why Not Create Wetlands? <ul><li>Politics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many stakeholders </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Opposing needs </...
Good or Bad? <ul><li>Dependent on local conditions </li></ul><ul><li>Requires effective management </li></ul><ul><ul><li>M...
Uganda <ul><li>Pilot created wetland in residential area </li></ul><ul><li>Unable treat raw sewage to point of reuse </li>...
Australia <ul><li>Moore Reserve Wetland </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Successful treatment of leachate from abandoned landfill </l...
Good! As long as… <ul><li>Solution fits the problem </li></ul><ul><li>Intelligent management </li></ul><ul><li>Planning pr...
Unnatural Wetlands are the Natural Choice!
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Created Wetlands

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Presentation on creating artificial wetlands given in freshwater biology course at National University of Singapore

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Created Wetlands

  1. 1. Constructing Nature An Analysis of the Costs and Benefits of Artificial Wetlands Jordan Senia
  2. 2. The Nature of Nature <ul><li>What does it mean to be “natural”? </li></ul><ul><li>Human impacts on the planet have resulted in novel habitats </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Canalization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reservoirs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fragmented forest </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Green roofs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Creation of nature is not new concept </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Nature of Nature <ul><li>All these habitats fail to retain many of the original ecosystem services </li></ul><ul><li>When will they be considered “natural”? </li></ul><ul><li>How to provide for human values while preserving ecosystem function </li></ul>
  4. 4. Mass Urbanization <ul><li>The proportion of the population living in urban areas is expected to increase to 82 per cent by 2030 (U.N. Information Service) </li></ul><ul><li>Further degradation of “natural” habitat </li></ul><ul><li>Strain on traditional waste water treatment mechanisms </li></ul>
  5. 5. Climate Change <ul><li>Increasing frequency of flooding events </li></ul><ul><li>Emergency planning is essential to mitigate climate problems </li></ul><ul><li>Need to engage in measures that reduce flood risks </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>SOLUTIONS? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Bring Nature Back! Create Wetlands?
  8. 8. Why Create Wetlands? <ul><li>Wetlands combine beauty and function </li></ul><ul><li>Engineered to optimize ecosystem services </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provision of habitat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Flood attenuation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Groundwater Recharge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Treatment of wastewater </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aesthetic beauty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Education </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Habitat <ul><li>One third of all endangered species dependent on wetlands (Environmental Concern Inc) </li></ul><ul><li>Provision commercially valuable species </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shrimp farming in Philippines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>70% of commercial fishing in CA relies on wetlands </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Flood Attenuation <ul><li>Wetlands collect and store influent water, which is then slowly released </li></ul><ul><li>Replacement cost for flood control function of 5000 acres of drained wetland valued at 1.5 million US$ annually (Environmental Concern Inc.) </li></ul>
  11. 11. Groundwater Recharge <ul><li>Fresh water crisis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Replenishing sources is critical </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Facilitates percolation into aquifers </li></ul><ul><li>Compensate for effects of urbanization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Widespread construction of impermeable surfaces </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Wastewater Treatment <ul><li>Uptake of toxins </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Typha latifolia (cattail), Phalaris arundinaceae (reed canary grass) exhibit 41% efficiency phosphorus removal from agricultural runoff (Yates and Prasher) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sediment Reduction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Vegetation slows incoming water, sediments are deposited </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Wastewater Treatment
  14. 14. Aesthetics
  15. 15. Education
  16. 16. Why Not Create Wetlands? <ul><li>Disease </li></ul><ul><ul><li>May provide breeding ground for mosquitoes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Inefficiency </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Certain studies have shown lack of ability to cleanse highly toxic sewage </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Complex monitoring, maintenance plan </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nature is not static </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Why Not Create Wetlands? <ul><li>Politics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many stakeholders </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Opposing needs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ecological health vs treatment function </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mosquito control vs recreation and conservation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Public use vs carrying capacity </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Good or Bad? <ul><li>Dependent on local conditions </li></ul><ul><li>Requires effective management </li></ul><ul><ul><li>May tend toward homogeneity </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Must involve stakeholders in planning process </li></ul>
  19. 19. Uganda <ul><li>Pilot created wetland in residential area </li></ul><ul><li>Unable treat raw sewage to point of reuse </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Subsurface flow would have been more effective </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mosquito populations increased </li></ul>
  20. 20. Australia <ul><li>Moore Reserve Wetland </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Successful treatment of leachate from abandoned landfill </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engagement of Stakeholders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides recreation and habitat </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Good! As long as… <ul><li>Solution fits the problem </li></ul><ul><li>Intelligent management </li></ul><ul><li>Planning process is transparent </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Solicit input from all involved parties </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Unnatural Wetlands are the Natural Choice!

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