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Harper Schmalz

Field Toxicology & Environmental Monitoring

DBHSC 2032




Assessing the dynamics of dissolved organic matter in stormwater: implications for greenhouse gas emissions


Stormwater management ponds (SWMPs) are important aspects of land-use planning initiatives designed to manage urban runoff; however, it remains a debate whether SWMPs contribute to positive climate benefits. In particular, it is unclear if SWMPs are a net source or sink for greenhouse gases (GHG) and how SWMP monitoring and operation might be optimized to produce positive climate benefits without compromising stormwater impact mitigation. To clarify if SWMPs exacerbate or mitigate climate forcing, their net effects must be evaluated and consider the surrounding and internal plant biomass as contributors to dissolved organic matter (DOM) concentrations. This study will explore the quality of DOM (a reduced form of carbon) in SWMPs and how dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations vary in SWMPs with respect to time, space, and hydrology. The objectives of this study are to evaluate the spatial and temporal variation in the concentrations of DOC in urban stormwater systems and quantify the degradation rates of different SWMP vegetation (terrestrial, emergent, and submerged aquatic) and the corresponding change in carbon. The research findings will assist in developing overall GHG models for stormwater infrastructure. This information will provide decision makers with sufficient information to make scientifically-sound GHG management decisions in terms of SWMP design and operation.

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