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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.
Connecting People and Urban Streams--Faith Fitzpatrick (USGS)
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/Videographer: 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 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.
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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