Resource Ecology Elizabeth River Project Fieldtrip
March 26, 2013
For our most recent field trip, our group went to Norfolk Virginia and toured various efforts to better the water quality in the Elizabeth River. We visited the Elizabeth River Project that has been receiving allotments of land adjacent to the river to establish wetlands to restore the river quality back to normal levels. We learned how the project has been measuring the impact areas. They look at the fish in the area; in particular the Mummichog which lives its entire life in a 20ft area making them easy to measure. These Mummichogs have been developing cancer in their livers so scientists can determine which areas of the river are most affected by the pollution.
Our group visited two of the wetland sites that have been made into parks so that people can be a part of the process of cleaning up the river. The Elizabeth River Project offers a star quality initiative to receive support from the local community and businesses. After our tours of the wetlands, we ventured out to Old Dominion University to tour the phytoplankton labs and the school’s greenhouses. The greenhouses where the majority of the slideshow pictures come from was quite spacious. There were numerous species growing throughout the greenhouse with a showing area for the flowering specimens.
On the return back to Catawba we stopped at Blackwater Ecological Preserve, which is Old Dominion’s equivalent of our environmental preserve. Earlier in the semester we assisted in the preparation of a track of land for a prescribed burn. What we were seeing would be the outcome of our efforts over time: tall long leaf pines towering above us with scorch marks from previous burns, an even layer of pine needles laying strewn across the floor of the property, very few shrubs growing from under the pine trees, an assortment of long leaf pines, short leaf pines, pond pines, and loblolly pines.