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Wetland project will preserve habitat on the Trinity River and former landfill

Diverse wetland research sites affiliated with Kevin Stevens' Wetland Plant Ecology Research Group

The City of Grand Prairie is implementing two environmental management projects designed to create and preserve riparian habitat on the grounds of the Grand Prairie landfill and in floodplains along the Trinity River.

Kevin StevensKevin Stevens, left, assistant professor of biology and wetland plant ecologist, Joe Snow, research scientist, and several graduate students will develop strategies to safeguard the ecological health of the wetlands. They are working with a $49,995 grant from the city and in collaboration with Grand Prairie personnel.

Landfills are examples of places where humans have aggressively altered the land. A conscious re-construction of the affected zones is one approach that can stimulate the ecosystem to recover and function at a high level of ecological performance. Two wetland mitigation areas are at stake, totaling 8 acres. Planting and nurturing a diverse native plant community is key to the plan.

Based on prior vegetation and seed bank surveys taken in the area and adjacent wetlands, Stevens’ team has determined a successful restoration will require plantings with a variety of native wetland plant species. The greater the diversity, the more resilient the community will be. Unlike agricultural species, little is known regarding the germination and seedling requirements of native wetland species. Stevens’ group has been learning this as they go and gathering valued information on the basic biology of native North Central Texas wetland plants.  

Additional land management strategies include the preservation of mature bottomland hardwood forest in 70 acres of deed-restricted floodplains along the West Fork of the Trinity River. 

UNT’s Water Research Field Station and its affiliated greenhouse nurseries and outdoor ponds will be used to propagate and test plants for the project. Researchers hope to make the wetland plantings a community event and engage diverse environmental societies, schools, scouts and other community groups interested in environmental restoration. - Julie West, publications specialist, Office of Research and Economic Development

(Image courtesy of Stevens' Wetland Plant Econolgy Research Group.)

Posted on: Tue 03 May 2011

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