Treatment wetlands equal cleaner water and more birds

By Debra Segal and Robert Knight

Debra Segal, M.S. is an environmental scientist who has assisted in designing, permitting, and monitoring treatment wetlands in Florida, including Gainesville’s Sweetwater Wetland Park and the Lake Hancock Outfall Wetland. She is also a volunteer for the Alachua Audubon Society.

Robert Knight, Ph.D. is co-author of Treatment Wetlands and is a pioneer of treatment wetland design, operation, and performance. He has been instrumental in incorporating productive and safe bird and other wildlife habitat in treatment wetlands and has been active in the design and/or operation of many of the systems described in this blog.

Some of the most productive birding hotspots in Florida are man-made treatment wetlands that were designed to remove nutrients and pollutants from treated wastewater and stormwater. Increasing wastewater flows and stormwater runoff are the inevitable results of increasing human populations. But a growing number of communities in Florida and worldwide, are turning this liability into an asset by initially treating this water through conventional advanced treatment technologies and then recycling the partially purified water into wetland systems designed to provide final purification cost-effectively. One ancillary benefit of these treatment wetlands is their high biological productivity that supports complex and abundant wildlife populations, including many wetland-dependent birds. With additional forethought and some additional cost, these treatment wetlands are becoming important destinations for bird watching and nature photography. Continue reading Treatment wetlands equal cleaner water and more birds