Water Science Institute Receives National Recognition For Legacy Sediments Article From Soil And Water Conservation Society

On June 26, the Lancaster-based Water Science Institute announced an article it sponsored “Legacy Sediment Erosion Hotspots: A cost-effective approach for targeting water quality improvements” has been selected as an Editor’s Choice “article of excellence” awardee by the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, the official publication of the Soil and Water Conservation Society.

The article, one of a series of awards “presented annually to individuals and organizations who have made outstanding contributions in advocating and advancing the conservation of soil, water, and related natural resources” was authored by Dr. Patrick Fleming based on his research report “Cost Effectiveness of Legacy Sediment Mitigation at Big Spring Run in Comparison to other Best Management Practices in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.” 

The report and article were developed with funding from the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Conservation Innovation Program (CIG) and the Steinman Foundation of Lancaster County. 

In the Journal article Fleming and fellow Franklin and Marshall professors and Water Science Institute scientists Drs. Dorothy Merritts and Robert Walter illustrated how legacy sediment removal on a watershed scale can provide a cost effective approach to floodplain restoration and wetland creation in the Mill Creek watershed of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Using a combination of field investigation, academic analysis, lidar imagery, digital elevation modeling and drone survey techniques the authors identified 18 high erosion watershed “hotspots” that were contributing significant volumes of nutrient and sediment to the Mill Creek. 

These hotspots were then calculated for volume and bulk density to determine their total load and compared for their cost effectiveness and land use requirements against other commonly used Lancaster County agricultural bmps. 

Water Science technical staff Shelby Sawyer, Logan Lewis and Evan Lewis provided much of the graphic detail in collaboration with Mike Rahnis of Topomatrix, LLC.

Award winners will be showcased within the 75th SWCS International Annual Conference virtual platform during the July 27-29, 2020, event.

For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Water Science Institute website.

[Note: A floodplain restoration project in Big Spring Run, Lancaster County, was completed by Lititz-based LandStudies supported by the PA Environmental Council.]

(Photo: Big Spring Run floodplain restoration before and after.)

Related Articles:

F&M Highlights Big Spring Run Stream, Floodplain Restoration Efforts In Lancaster

Water Science Institute Storymap Shows How Old Mill Dams, Land Use & Legacy Sediments In Lancaster County Affect Water Quality

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[Posted: June 27, 2020]


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