Submitter and Co-author information

Ryan Mackenzie Graham, University of WindsorFollow

Standing

Graduate (Masters)

Type of Proposal

Oral Research Presentation

Faculty

Faculty of Science

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Catherine Febria

Abstract/Description of Original Work

Drainage systems in agricultural landscapes are a key component for the surrounding natural environment. They provide important services such as nutrient mitigation, flood and erosion control, and other environmental services such as sources of food for animals and areas for biodiversity. Unfortunately for these drain systems, these services are often reduced because of the reed grass Phragmites australis. This invasive plant grows in dense stands within drains, impacting water flow which can cause flooding. The knowledge base surrounding this issue is massive, because the problems with Phragmites have existed for decades. We have efficient ways of removing Phragmites but there are still many variables within this environmental issue that has yet to be studied. There are few research projects looking into the vegetational communities with the systems and what else grows within these aquatic systems alongside Phragmites. We can manage this plant, but what else can grow there? To answer this knowledge gap, researchers from the Healthy Headwaters Lab conducted surveys of multiple drains across Windsor-Essex County in the Spring/Summer (May-June) and Fall (September-October) of 2021. At each site they recorded water quality, sampled benthic macroinvertebrates, and conducted vegetational surveys across the entire drain. This data is currently being explored using statistical software R Studio and initial analysis are set to be run in the coming weeks. The goal of this research was to address the lack of knowledge behind the vegetational communities within drainage systems, and to hopefully contribute to the science behind Phragmites management.

Availability

March 29th 12-3pm and April 1 12-3pm

Special Considerations

I presented this research in 2021 before my field season, i wanted to now present the initial findings from the data.

Share

COinS
 

Characterization of riparian vegetation in agriculture drains impacted by Phragmites australis: A SW Ontario case study

Drainage systems in agricultural landscapes are a key component for the surrounding natural environment. They provide important services such as nutrient mitigation, flood and erosion control, and other environmental services such as sources of food for animals and areas for biodiversity. Unfortunately for these drain systems, these services are often reduced because of the reed grass Phragmites australis. This invasive plant grows in dense stands within drains, impacting water flow which can cause flooding. The knowledge base surrounding this issue is massive, because the problems with Phragmites have existed for decades. We have efficient ways of removing Phragmites but there are still many variables within this environmental issue that has yet to be studied. There are few research projects looking into the vegetational communities with the systems and what else grows within these aquatic systems alongside Phragmites. We can manage this plant, but what else can grow there? To answer this knowledge gap, researchers from the Healthy Headwaters Lab conducted surveys of multiple drains across Windsor-Essex County in the Spring/Summer (May-June) and Fall (September-October) of 2021. At each site they recorded water quality, sampled benthic macroinvertebrates, and conducted vegetational surveys across the entire drain. This data is currently being explored using statistical software R Studio and initial analysis are set to be run in the coming weeks. The goal of this research was to address the lack of knowledge behind the vegetational communities within drainage systems, and to hopefully contribute to the science behind Phragmites management.