Urbanization is a largely irreversible anthropogenic change that degrades environmental quality, including aquatic ecosystems. Stormwater ponds are a popular best management practice (BMP) to mitigate the effects of urban land use on downstream water bodies and contribute significantly to the total area of aquatic ecosystems in some urban watersheds. My research investigated the distribution of stormwater ponds and examined how different urban land uses influenced biophysicochemical conditions and management of those ponds in a rapidly developing suburban watershed in the Econlockhatchee River basin in Florida, USA. I evaluated limnological and ecological parameters in randomly-selected ponds distributed among three urban land-use classes: high-density residential, institutional, and roadways. Ecological measures included characterizing percentage cover and composition of littoral zone plant community and the extent of any algal mats. Limnological measures included physical parameters (pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, and clarity), and nutrient concentrations (nitrate, ammonium, total nitrogen, dissolved reactive phosphorus, total phosphorus, and chlorophyll a). I used a subjective management intensity index to compare pond management among land-use classes. Stormwater ponds represented 40.2% of the total area of non-forested freshwater systems in the watershed, and were dominated by residential land uses (43.7%), followed by roadways (14.7%), industrial (2.7%) and institutional (2.3%). Principal Component Analysis (PCA) revealed that ponds with higher total nitrogen (TN) and chlorophyll a (chla) concentrations had lower water clarity, and that both. TN and TP were positively correlated with chla. PCA scores for school ponds, which had the highest water clarity, differed significantly from those of expressway and residential ponds, along the first PCA axis. Repeated-measures analysis of variance showed that TN concentrations differed significantly between expressway and school ponds, with expressway ponds having TN concentrations 51.7% higher than schools. Both TP and TN varied differently through time in the different lands uses. Management intensity for removal of aquatic vegetation and algae was lower in school ponds than in expressway and residential ponds, and school ponds contained the highest abundance and diversity of vegetation. Different urban land uses had varying impacts on water quality, and more intense chemical use to control vegetation and algae was related to greater nutrient and chla concentrations and lower water clarity.
Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Skovira, Lindsay, "Transforming the Aquatic Urban Landscape: Nutrient Status and Management of Stormwater Basins" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5593.