September 2022- BUFRG researcher to submit paper on urban streams and forested patches
Gretchen Luchauer is preparing her manuscript, “Urban Stream Corridors and Forest Patches – The Connections: A Case Study of Bloomington, IN”, for publication in the journal Urban Ecosystems. The research done for this project connects with and builds upon BUFRG work investigating urban forested patches and includes novel findings about connectivity between these two resources. Please see the abstract below for more detail.
Abstract- Streams and forests are connected ecosystems, but few studies have looked at the connectivity between streams and forests in urban environments. City-made decisions affect connections between streams and forests by isolating both streams and forests. Streams are often channelized or buried to reduce flooding and increase potential developable areas. Forests become fragmented and are removed unless they are protected by the public ownership, private ownership, or mixed governance arrangements. Historical choices in land usage affect the sites and sizes of current urban streams, forests, and development. This affects the distribution of impervious surfaces, a ubiquitous urban land cover type, which separates streams from forests. Despite these barriers to stream/forest interactions, cities can experience stream/forest connectivity. Seven Bloomington watersheds are ranked on their proportions of buried streams, channelized streams, forested hydrology, forested streams, urban forest patch cover, and impervious surface cover, along with historical presence of urbanization. Several watersheds demonstrate stream/forest connectivity, with five of these watersheds containing 50% or greater forested stream segments. Bloomington canopy cover reduces stormwater runoff by approximately 127 kiloliters per year. These forested areas reduce flooding, reduce nutrient loading, and reduces stream conditions associated with urban stream syndrome. Streams provide incentive for forest protection, aesthetic value, and recreational value. Understanding urban stream/forest connectivity can improve green infrastructure design and green space design, which improves urban resilience and better connects residents to the environment.