• Protect Water - Constructed Wetland


    Background

    In the spring of 2011 Ocean Bay Middle School Science Club was approached by Coastal Waccamaw Stormwater Education Consortium and Horry County Stormwater to see if we would be willing to participate in a wetland restoration project.  The area in front of the new community center in Carolina Forest was converted into a rain garden but the area was too wet to sustain the design.  They felt that restoring the original ecosystem would be best not only for the community but also for the environment. In December the children were educated on what they would be doing and why. They then removed the invasive species in the wetland and planted native pants.  The Carolina Forest Recreation Center constructed wetland seems to be doing very well (see Green Screen). The plants have grown significantly, irises are blooming, and there is a lot of wildlife activity. We have spotted two species of shorebirds, plenty of fish and frogs, and noticed other birds visiting the stems. While there are some aggressive cattail recruits, there are also a large amount of rushes that have recruited and are flowering (visible in foreground of photo). Almost all of the river birch and wax myrtle that were relocated have survived. Students will continue to remove cattails and monitor the health of the wetland. So far, so good!

    Timeline

    December 2011– Horry County Stormwater staff give presentation about constructed wetland project to Science Club

    December 2011 -  Cattails were removed from the water

    January 2012– Students put in plants into wetland area in front of new Horry County recreation center

    Spring 2012– Science Club members determined what parameters to monitor and how often to monitor

    Spring 2012– Students monitored wetland and record findings

    Spring 2012– Science Club developed outreach materials about wetland by doing a contest for the sign in front of wetland

    Winter/Spring 2012-2013-  OBM Science Club students will continue to monitor the wetland by testing for pH, Turbidity, Coli form count,temperature, Micro life counts, water levels and comparing it to data from holding pond that has not been restored

    Fall/Spring 2013-2014-monitoring the wetland by testing for pH, Turbidity, Coli form count,temperature, Micro life counts, water levels and comparing it to data from holding pond that has not been restored

    What students will do and how

    Students will learn about constructed wetlands and the reasons that this one is being built through a presentation given by staff of the Horry County Stormwater department. The students will help Horry County with planting the wetland in front of the new recreation center and community library. The Science Club members will monitor the wetland regularly (exact timeframe to be determined with input from the students). This monitoring may include the following: observational data on plant growth and survival; observational data on organisms visiting the wetland; measuring water levels in the wetland; and tracking rain events to compare water levels to rain fall amounts. Students may add other measurements to the previous list.

    What students will teach others and how

    Students in the Science Club will develop outreach materials, such as wording for a permanent sign at the wetland site or brochures to display at the new recreation center and library, describing the constructed wetland and its importance to the environment.