Poster Session & Social
4:40 PM - 6:30 PM Wed
POSTER PRESENTER #17
CO-AUTHORS: Nicolette Sheffield, University of Illinois; Piotr Szocinski, University of Illinois
TITLE: Hydrology, carbon storage, and water- and soil quality in wetlands along the Lake Michigan shore in Illinois
ABSTRACT: Great Lakes coastal wetlands are susceptible to inundation, desiccation, erosion, and pollution due to climate change and land- and water-use pressures. Attention to these challenges at the site scale requires evaluation of hydrologic changes and identification of pollution sources and delivery. Further, evaluating wetland function is critical for assessing shifts in ecosystem services due to environmental change and potential tradeoffs based on management scenarios. Analysis of water levels at Illinois Beach State Park provides the framework for assessing wetland function. Water levels at the study site show distinct differences in water sources. A distinct hydrologic gradient from the top of relict beach ridges to deep marshes shows the varying degrees of connectivity of these wetlands to the shallow aquifer and to Lake Michigan. The range of percent soil organic carbon indicates that not all wetlands provide the same capacity for carbon storage. Water-quality monitoring at a smaller sampling of monitoring locations generally suggests that lakeward areas within the park are less affected by pollutants from anthropogenic sources. Additionally, soil quality data show elevated levels of some pollutants associated with industrial sources and activities related to the history of the area. These findings are provided in support of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Coastal Management Program, which assists coastal communities in managing wetland resources in the coastal zone.
BIO: Geoff Pociask, Nicolette Sheffield, and Piotr Szocinski are geologists in the Wetlands Geology section of the Illinois State Geological Survey, part of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois. They specialize in studying geology, hydrology, and water quality of wetlands and other aquatic habitats.