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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.
[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
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.)
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