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Connecting People and Urban Streams

Information presented is factual at the time of creation.
If no transcript and/or closed-caption is available, please notify us.
[Music playing]

Faith Fitzpatrick: I'm Faith Fitzpatrick-

I work at the U.S. Geological Survey

with a team of scientists studying the

effects of urbanization on stream

ecosystems, in this video we'll look

at how urban development alters the

habitat or physical features where

creatures live in or near the streams.

Habit is made up of four basic things;

Water, shelter, food and space. Flowing

water is important to provide habitats

and food for all sorts of creatures.

Healthy streams typically have a range

of flows that change through the seasons.

Healthy stream habitats have a diversity

of water velocity and depth combinations

and geomorphic features. Such as, shallow

rapids and deep pools and many bends

and curves. Boulders and logs in the

stream and grass and shrubs along its

banks offer protection during floods and

provide food and cover from predators.

It's not just the stream that provides

habitat for fish, but how the stream

is connected to the land and low-lying

areas along its banks. Low areas right

next to the stream help alleviate

flooding and also help provide shelter,

refuge and food for amphibians, insects, reptiles and birds.

In urban watersheds run-off from roads,

parking lots and rooftops and the

addition of storm sewers cause more

frequent and erosive flows because less

rainfall is soaked in to the ground.

Storm flow acts like a fire hose that

scours streambeds and banks and destroys

and unravels the physical features

that aquatic creatures call home.

Sand, silt and clay from bare soils

at construction sites, smother gravel

riffles, clog channels and fill in

pools. Fine sediment can accumulate

contaminates in nutrients and is a

real problem in streams with gentle

slopes. As streams are lined with

cement, go underground or are altered

by dams or road-crossings, the

connections among habitats are lost,

limiting the movement of fish and other organisms.

Vegetation along an urban stream is

frequently over run by aggressive,

invasive plants. Most invasive plants

start out in people's gardens, but

they easily spread to banks, flood

plains and wetlands where they crowd

out native plants. As people connect

with their streams, watershed volunteer

groups connect with regional planning

commissions, sewerage districts and city

planners and engineers to improve the

livability of urban stream corridors

for both wildlife and humans.

Jeff Martinka: So you have more power

than you think because a lot of us don't

make time to let our voices be heard.

Faith Fitzpatrick: The Milwaukee Metropolitan

Sewerage District has been able to

speed up its goal of removing or

redesigning cement lined channels

that block fish passage. These

rehabilitation projects are reconnecting

habitats and also improving aesthetics

and safety for people while maintaining

flood control. Because of the importance

of preserving salmon and other species

on the endangered species list habitat

improvement and protection in the

Portland, Oregon area is first and foremost

in rehabilitation projects. Large logs

are used in many of the rehabilitation

projects to provide shelter and resting

places for fish and other creatures.

The protection of Chesapeake Bay has

brought together a diverse group of

water resources planners and managers,

as well as engineers, ecologists and

landscape architects. They've been using

sand seepage systems, base flow channels

and plants to filter storm water. These

techniques reduce runoff, peak storm flows,

bank erosion and gullying while improving

infiltration, water quality and habitat.

An important part of rehabilitation

projects is measuring success. Monitoring

flow, water quality, habit and biological

characteristics before, during and after

rehabilitation activities are especially

critical for projects where there is a

high risk to infrastructure or endangered

species. For urban streams hope for

habitat is all about connections,

reconnecting the continuum of habitats

that streams provide from their head

water to mouths, reconnecting streams

to flood plains and wetlands and most

importantly, reconnecting people with

each other and their streams.

Thanks for your interest in our

study of the urbanization effects

on stream ecosystems, conducted as

part of the National Water-Quality

Assessment Program of the U.S.

Geological Survey. Please visit our

website for more information about

the study and also access to our

data and our reports.

[Music playing]

[End of Audio]


Title: Connecting People and Urban Streams


Faith Fitzpatrick (U.S. Geological Survey) outlines the importance of habitat to the health of streams and shows examples of connecting people to urban streams through rehabilitation efforts across the USA. (5 minute version)

Location: NC, MD, WI, OR, USA

Date Taken: 5/11/2011

Length: 5:50

Video Producer: Douglas A. Harned , National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA), USGS, North Carolina Water Science Center, Raleigh, NC

Note: This video has been released into the public domain by the U.S. Geological Survey for use in its entirety. Some videos may contain pieces of copyrighted material. If you wish to use a portion of the video for any purpose, other than for resharing/reposting the video in its entirety, please contact the Video Producer/Videographer listed with this video. Please refer to the USGS Copyright section for how to credit this video.

Additional Video Credits:

Faith Fitzpatrick: Scriptwriter, Narrator, Scientist Consultant

Gerard McMahon: Producer

Douglas Harned: Producer, Video, Editor

Alan Cressler: Video

Luke McMahon: Video

Brian Pointer: Video

Amanda Bell: Video

Steve Sobieszczk: Video

Michelle Moorman: Video

Erik Staub: Video

Luke Myers: Video

Ray Douglas Audio

Jeff Martinka (Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust, Inc.)

File Details:

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Tags: AquaticEcology Baltimore DouglasHarned EUSE Ecosystems FaithFitzpatrick Habitat Hydrology Maryland Milwaukee NAWQA Oregon Portland StreamRehabilitation StreamRestoration USGS Urbanization WaterQuality WaterResourceManagement Wisconsin


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