ENVS 275 - Methods in Environmental Science 2003
The 2003 class worked in conjunction with the Knox Parks Foundation to do an environmental Assessment of a greenway on the South Park River. Report by Sarah Arnold ('06) is available in .pdf format.
Park river from our site with mallards and a blue heron in visible in the river in the distance.
The site contains varied vegetation. Professors Smeldey, Morrison, and Geiss are shown below taking equipment in for the day's lab.
Experiments at the site include trapping ground beetles as a measure of overall environmental health of the site. Here the group prepares ground beetle traps under the supervision of Professor Smedley.
Soil samples were obtained and the site was found to have evidence that it was once the bottom of glacial Lake Hitchcock. Note the layers in the clay.
Studies of the river included water analysis and measurement of flow properties.
Here students collect macroinvertibrates to assess overall water quality. Professor Smedley instructs and Professor Geiss (in background) supervises while Megan holds the net and Sarah dislodges the macroinvertibrates.
The samples were returned to the lab and the macroinvertibrates were identified and counted.
One goal of the water analysis is to assess the impact of the paving of the Wal-Mart site adjacent to the Park River on water quality and storm water runoff. Three new storm drains have been installed emptying into the river. Two are shown here.
These studies will continue next year. One objective is to measure the flow in the river. The USGS stream gauge on the South Park River was deactivated in 1981. Here Professor Henderson observes as the students study the way the flow varies across the river.
A recording Stream Gauge was installed to monitor water levels at 15 minute intervals. It was also necessary to have establish a place to measure flow at high water levels.
A little graffiti was required.
Now samples of water and soil will be returned to the laboratory for measurements of pH, alkalinity, and nutrient concentrations. Soils will be studied for the presence of toxic metals and PCB's. Macroinvertibrates from the water and ground beetles from the land will be identified and both the number and diversity of species evaluated.
GIS mapping of the site is a major aspect of the study as well.
Moderate and high resolution GPS units are used to locate invasive species and other features of interest. Data is transferred to maps in ArcGIS so features can be superimposed on aerial photos and contour maps.