Managing urban pond vegetation to enhance water quality benefits

This project seeks to understand how stormwater pond plant communities affect functioning of stormwater ponds, and how pond design, maintenance and management can be adapted to promote conditions that maximize water quality benefits in urban and road-impacted areas. We address two main questions: (1) How do stormwater pond design, maintenance, and physical characteristics influence pond vegetation and its associated effects on water quality? With understanding of vegetation outcomes and impacts on water quality for a representative range of the diverse stormwater ponds of Minnesota, we then investigate (2) what are effective methods for managing pond vegetation to enhance water quality functions? Here we synthesize and analyze existing information that can be applied to conditions in urban stormwater ponds, and use a partnership with the City of Bloomington to explore an understudied yet promising method to reduce internal loading and phosphorus in ponds by managing floating plants.

Projected outcomes:

  1. Predictive understanding of distribution and abundance of dominant aquatic plant functional groups (floating-leaved vs. emergent vs. submerged vs. phytoplankton) for a range of typical conditions in constructed stormwater ponds
  2. Information relating dominant vegetation types to pond water quality functions
  3. Evaluation and comparison of alternative plant management strategies that can be applied tostormwater ponds
  4. Development and guidance for implementation of an innovative method to control floating plants in stormwater ponds using novel experiments developed by the City of Bloomington
  5. Integration and dissemination of pond design and management recommendations into existing stormwater management resources, including the MN Stormwater Manual and a Pond Assessment Tool