My students and I are currently involved in four areas of research in aquatic systems.
1. Riparian Buffers and Stream Temperature (RBAST). The RBAST project is a continent wide stream project investigating the impacts of riparian buffers across 100m long reaches of streams. The project is part of the Ecological Research as Education Network (EREN). In that project, students have been monitoring water temperature at two sites on a small tributary to the Conewago Creek. One site is in a forested preserve and the second is approximately 1 km downstream where the stream opens up into a grassy meadow. A poster of preliminary findings was presented at the 2012 Ecological Society of America Meeting and another poster was presented at the 2012 Pennsylvania Academy of Science meeting. Findings from the project were published in 2014 in River Applications and were reviewed in the Environmental Monitor.
Conewago Creek at Hershey Meadows
2. Hershey Meadows Restoration. The Conewago Creek Initiative is a collaborative effort among local, state and federal agencies to improve the quality of the Conewago Creek watershed. More information can be found at the Initiative website. As part of that project we are monitoring a restored wetland and stream segment at Hershey Meadows (left). Log vanes have been installed to direct the flow of the creek and a former meadow has been restored to 15 acres of wetlands. The latest monitoring data were presented at the 2014 Mid Atlantic Chapter of the Ecological Society of America.
3. Water Quality in the Conewago Creek. In a related project, students have been sampling water quality throughout the watershed as best management practices (BMPs) continue to be installed.
4. Lake Placida Restoration. The College recently replaced a dam on Lake Placida, a small pond on the campus. The restoration effort included the installation of new habitat for fish, and the introduction of native plants and fish to the lake. Earlier restoration efforts increased nutrient retention by littoral zone improvements and upstream wetland construction. That work was presented at the 2009 North American Lake Management Society meetings. In 2014, the most recent monitoring results were presented at the Mid Atlantic chapter of the Ecological Society of America. (Costik, Royer, and Murray, 2014)