Wetland & Lake Restoration ~  Hydrodynamics, Sediment Transport, and Water Quality

     Wetlands have widely recognized functions of water quality improvement. For example, floodplain wetlands can trap sediment and phosphorus in streams. Recent studies show that many wetlands altered by humans were drained to support agricultural use. Indirect impacts from pollutants, urban runoff, and non-native species invasion continue to degrade wetlands. While the value of wetland restoration to improve water quality are recognized, our understanding and estimate of potential benefits of floodplain wetlands restoration are still limited. We are interested in studying the effects of vegetation characteristics (density, distribution, submerged and emergent vegetation) on surface water and sediment processes. Accurate and efficient mapping of vegetation and sub-bottom conditions in shallow waters can provide a valuable monitoring tool for reclaiming lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands.  To better examine the effectiveness of restoring aquatic habitats, reliable and effective monitoring tool can be valuable. We employ the newly developed technique that combines a ground penetrating radar (GPR), a side scanning sonar (SSS), and sub-bottom profiler (SBP) to effectively determine the presence of vegetation in target areas (e.g. wetland restoration project at the Cherokee Marsh). Furthermore, we are deploying a series of floating bog interceptors (FBIs) that are designed to incorporate ecology and ecosystem services into shoreline wetland/coastal engineering protection. A coupled wetland hydrodynamic and sediment model  has been developed to evaluate the the outcome of reclaiming Cherokee Marsh using FBIs. Furthermore,  we also focus on examine the function of FBIs including (i) diminishing wave energy attacking the shoreline, (ii) diverting flow directions and trapping sediments at the downstream, and (iii) re-establishing natural vegetation on the shoreline. More details of the work can refer to several sources: Isthmus-2012, news, and Yahara 101 talk in 2014 and UW-News in 2015.  Some other sources related to the beauty of the Cherokee Marsh can be found from the Instagram.