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Replacing natural wetlands with stormwater management facilities: biophysical and perceived social values

Replacing natural wetlands with stormwater management facilities: biophysical and perceived social values

Rooney, R.C., Foote, L., Krogman, N., Pattison, J.K., Wilson, M.J. and Bayley, S.E. (2015) Replacing natural wetlands with stormwater management facilities: biophysical and perceived social values. Water Research, 73. pp. 17-28. ISSN 0043-1354 (doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2014.12.035)

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Abstract

Urban expansion replaces wetlands of natural origin with artificial stormwater management facilities. The literature suggests that efforts to mimic natural wetlands in the design of stormwater facilities can expand the provision of ecosystem services. Policy developments seek to capitalize on these improvements, encouraging developers to build stormwater wetlands in place of stormwater ponds; however, few have compared the biophysical values and social perceptions of these created wetlands to those of the natural wetlands they are replacing. We compared four types of wetlands: natural references sites, natural wetlands impacted by agriculture, created stormwater wetlands, and created stormwater ponds. We anticipated that they would exhibit a gradient in biodiversity, ecological integrity, chemical and hydrologic stress. We further anticipated that perceived values would mirror measured biophysical values. We found higher biophysical values associated with wetlands of natural origin (both reference and agriculturally impacted). The biophysical values of stormwater wetlands and stormwater ponds were lower and indistinguishable from one another. The perceived wetland values assessed by the public differed from the observed biophysical values. This has important policy implications, as the public are not likely to perceive the loss of values associated with the replacement of natural wetlands with created stormwater management facilities. We conclude that 1) agriculturally impacted wetlands provide biophysical values equivalent to those of natural wetlands, meaning that land use alone is not a great predictor of wetland value; 2) stormwater wetlands are not a substantive improvement over stormwater ponds, relative to wetlands of natural origin; 3) stormwater wetlands are poor mimics of natural wetlands, likely due to fundamental distinctions in terms of basin morphology, temporal variation in hydrology, ground water connectivity, and landscape position; 4) these drivers are relatively fixed, thus, once constructed, it may not be possible to modify them to improve provision of biophysical values; 5) these fixed drivers are not well perceived by the public and thus public perception may not capture the true value of natural wetlands, including those impacted by agriculture.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: [1] Attached is the Author's Accepted Manuscript version. Please cite this article as: Rooney, R.C., Foote, L., Krogman, N., Pattison, J.K., Wilson, M.J., Bayley, S.E., Replacing natural wetlands with stormwater management facilities: biophysical and perceived social values, Water Research (2015), doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2014.12.035. [2] Note: This is a PDF file of an unedited manuscript that has been accepted for publication. The manuscript will undergo copyediting, typesetting, and review of the resulting proof before it is published in its final form. Please note that during the production process errors may be discovered which could affect the content, and all legal disclaimers that apply to the journal pertain. [3] Acknowledgements (funding): Funding for this work was provided by Alberta Innovates Technology Futures (Alberta Ingenuity Fund) and the Alberta Conservation Association (ACA grants in biodiversity).
Uncontrolled Keywords: agriculture, constructed wetlands, ecosystem services, wet ponds, wetland health, wetland services
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2017 11:03
Selected for GREAT 2016: GREAT b
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/12938

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