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Ecosystem service provision by stormwater wetlands and ponds – A means for evaluation?

Moore, Trisha L.C., Hunt, William F.
Water research 2012 v.46 no.20 pp. 6811-6823
biodiversity, carbon, carbon sequestration, community structure, control methods, ecosystem services, ecosystems, habitats, macroinvertebrates, ponds, sediments, stormwater, wetlands, North Carolina
Stormwater control measures (SCMs) such as constructed stormwater ponds and constructed stormwater wetlands (CSWs) are designed to regulate runoff hydrology and quality. However, these created ecosystems also provide a range of other benefits, or ecosystem services, which are often acknowledged but rarely quantified. In this study, additional ecosystem services, including carbon sequestration, biodiversity, and cultural services, were assessed and compared between 20 ponds and 20 CSWs in North Carolina, USA. Carbon sequestration was estimated through the carbon content of pond and wetland sediments across a gradient of system age. Biodiversity was quantified in terms of the richness and Shannon diversity index of vegetative and aquatic macroinvertebrate communities. Cultural services were qualitatively assessed based on the potential for recreational and educational opportunities at each site. Ponds and wetlands were found to support similar levels of macroinvertebrate diversity, though differences community composition arose between the two habitat types. CSWs demonstrated greater potential to provide carbon sequestration, vegetative diversity, and cultural ecosystem services. This assessment provides an initial framework upon which future assessments of ecosystem service provision by SCMs can build.