A Mapmaker’s Toolbox

A Mapmaker’s Toolbox

our park wetland

I’m done with Phase 1, now I’m on Phase 2. My internship focused on dreaming up the BioBlitz which just wrapped up, so now I’m running environmental impact assessments for the park. There’s a park wetland bordering a high school that wants to put a turf field. We in resource management want to know that’s going to happen when water drains from the turn and runs into the wetland. This exact case hasn’t happened before in the park, so I get a lot of freedom dreaming up what we can do to predict the environmental impacts. My first action is to survey the ratio of introduced invasive species to native species that are currently in the wetland, and map them out in ArcGIS. This way we can see the overall biodiversity and health of the ecosystem. Which areas are least affected by invasive species, and are there any rare species in these areas? If we can show how healthy the wetland is right now, we can push harder for high quality water filtration systems to be added to the field’s design.

To implement this, we’ll be going out with the Northeast Invasive Task Force on Thursday to survey the ratio of invasive species to native species in the wetland. We’ll utilize on iNaturalist to keep track of where each species was observed so I can map out the results on ArcGIS after. I also plan to take soil samples and test the pH level there. Based on what we found for other instances of turf field runoff, we predict that the runoff will increase the pH of the wetland by 1.0 to 1.5 in the long term.

I’ve spent a lot of time climbing over the ArcGIS learning curve this month, now I’m starting to see some results. Since the Great Walden BioBlitz wrapped up, I have been able to give my full attention to learning more GIS mapping. I’m taking every observation taken in the park during the BioBlitz, about 1,100, and mapping them out. My trick to remembering what I learn is making a Youtube video of it so I can remember it later. Check one out below…

Once I get my GIS maps made and look further into the environmental impact that the turf field may have, I’ll share my work at a park presentation on July 19 to the general public, where I’ll can hopefully brainstorm with other members of the public for new ways I can go about the assessment. Feel free to comment below if you have any good ways to assess environmental health in a wetland.

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