1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
Assist NRCS in providing science-based data, results, and information to routinely inform conservation decisions affecting wetland ecosystems and the services they provide. Assist NRCS in developing a collaborative foundation that facilitates the production and delivery of scientific data, results, and information.
1b. Approach (from AD-416)
The funds used for in-house efforts will focus on assessments of denitrification in the wetland sites. The denitrification enzyme assays will be done on the approximately 60 evaluation sites. Greenhouse gas chamber analyses will be done on a select number of sites via a static chamber and a photoacoustic analyzer. The East Carolina effort will be done via an SCA focused on a site rating system. The Mitchell Ecology effort will be done via an SCA focused on amphibian evaluations. In both cases, the SCA evaluations will consider potential connections with the conditions for and the level of denitrification.
3. Progress Report
As a result of budget and priority redirections, the East Carolina University project funding was withdrawn and more emphasis was placed on the denitrification and amphibian evaluations. The Mitchell Ecology effort on amphibian evaluations has begun and will shortly expand. The denitrification efforts seek to 1) access the ability of altered and natural wetland sites to denitrify nitrogen so as to protect water quality and 2) assess the level of nitrous oxide production potential in order to evaluate greenhouse pollution potentials. Substantial progress was made in the quality assurance and quality control of direct measurements via photoacoustic analysis technology. Confidence in these measurements is important because most of the wetlands have significant denitrification capacities. Yet, only a few will produce significant quantities of nitrous oxide. Thus, it is extremely important to know that the negative emission measurements are valid. Site selection has progressed in VA so that sampling and measurements are proceeding. The MD and NC site selection and sampling will begin within a few weeks. The work of this project is being augmented by in-house research on denitrification and microbial ecological investigations. Together, these investigations will provide science based data on the importance of wetlands in the Mid-Atlantic region for greenhouse gas emissions and water quality protection. The project will be monitored via planning meetings and site selection visits.