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message 19: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten | 161 comments Wetlands?! Now I KNOW I'm in the right place.
As an enviro sci kid, I can confirm your suspicions that there is very little know about the impacts of oils spills on all habitats other than that immediate and visible impacts on wild life. Oil breaks down differently depending on water chemistry, temperature, microbes present, etc, so it's really hard to say. On top of that, as I'm sure you're aware, wetlands and estuaries are poorly understood.


message 18: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (mjkirkland) | 208 comments If the group is interested, I can start posting the bits of information that I'm gathering about the impacts from the Gulf oil spill.


message 17: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (mjkirkland) | 208 comments I've been trying to find books about this very topic for some time now and the most appropriate that I have found for my level of knowledge of petroleum are books about the impacts of the Exxon Valdez spill.

I have a terrible suspicion that there is a limited amount of knowledge/understanding about oil spills and coastal estuaries.

It's quite clear that it could be horrific when we look at the overall impacts on the food chain of the estuaries, but I've not found the right book yet. I'm still looking.

Much of the understanding of the potential damage comes from a basic understanding of how estuararies and wetlands function as habitat, as well as a working knowledge of the plant communities that are being affected. Sadly, I don't have an easy answer.


message 16: by Salvatrice (new)

Salvatrice Melissa- do you have any suggestions for books that would provide good beginners' understanding of the chain-reaction impact we can expect in the Gulf? I've got the basic gist that "it's not good" ---but sadly, that's were my understanding begins and ends.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Actually per the Forest Ranger they were a desert toad. There are almost no frogs in the desert where we lived. There are none up here at 8,000 feet either. I miss them.


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh, the poor little frogs.


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

I suspect he was a toad but don't know for sure of course. I read in England that people have little toad houses and keep them as pets outside. They love dog food. Sitting on a lily pad does sound like a frog tho. I had hoped to have a pet one in NM but had very bad luck with saving that lot. I got mealy worms for them but the worms were too large for their mouths.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh, I love tree toads also. We don't seem to have any but my son who lives just up the hill from me, does. Our male frog croaked much. He was very friendly and when he would hear us on the porch at dinner time would always hop out of the pond and hop over to the patio near the porch and serenade us. I guess he wasn't a frog? He would sun himself on a lily pad in the pond but sort of out of the pond.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

How cool you had a frog. I read some interesting things about them in Survival of the Sickest. A friend up in Woodland Park had one she kept in the house. It was one of those little pet frogs. I would fear it freezing here as our house gets so cold in winter. Years ago I had some in my aquarium but they could manage to crawl out and then would die as they had to be in the water at all times.

If we move to lower altitude I may get the courage to try. Its something I always wanted.

Did your frog croak lots? Once in Texas I came home to find two tree frogs sitting on the door knocker. It was so cute with the frogs on it. They could make an incredible racket but I love to hear them.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Alice, the maintenance of my pond, or any other is quite minimal. We only clean the filter around Mother's day before we lower it for the summer, and again around Halloween before we raise it for the winter. There is no need to constantly feed the fish because they feed on the algae. I like to feed them once a week or so just to check them to make sure they are OK. Once in a while I will skim it or go lower to get some of the muck out. I cannot any longer raise or lower the filter and pump. Woody takes care of that now.
What a shame you lost your toads to the cold. Our frog lies upside down belly up on the bottom of the pond all winter. Every year we think he is dead only to see him rally come the spring. This year he seems to be gone to greener pastures. His loss.


message 9: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 13, 2010 04:59PM) (new)

Ann wrote: "Oh yes, for sure. I am the only one left with a pond of all of my friends who installed them and most of the people who originally on various pond groups on Yahoo and such.
We can't fight Mother Na..."


I always wanted a pond like you have Ann but I doubt I could have maintaind it like you have done. I first began to want one when I lived in Japan and saw the goldfish (koi) ponds there. In San Angelo, TX they kept lovely waterlily ponds going.

When I lived in NM I did a rescue on tadpoles there. The Forest Service woman there told me that they could live when the water disappeared but that was not true so I moved about 100 of them into a galvanzied tub. They would not crawl out so as they became little toads I would scoop them out with the fish net I had. As our first cold front came on they began to freeze to death. I moved some inside but the problem was then they starved. I kept calling different people for info and help but no one really knew anything. Since frogs and toads all over the world are in trouble I hoped that I saved a few. As I was reading Parasite Rex it said that in areas where all the parasites have died out the frogs and toads also die. Also many other animals die. Its so complicated.

I sure agree with you Ann about city water. I have to be on a well as city water is so contaminated it gives me a red rash.

That is so true about nature. Very few want to do it tho.Parasite Rex : Inside the Bizarre World of Nature's Most Dangerous Creatures


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh yes, for sure. I am the only one left with a pond of all of my friends who installed them and most of the people who originally on various pond groups on Yahoo and such.
We can't fight Mother Nature. We can't put 100 fish in a small pond. We can't ignore the addition of the proper plant material. We shouldn't keep emptying and refilling our ponds with city water which contains all sorts of additives.
If we follow the rules of nature, we can co-exist with it.


message 7: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (mjkirkland) | 208 comments Your pond is a fine example of how well we don't understand freshwater systems!


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Not at all. This is fascinating!
I have a pond in my yard. We had it installed in 1998 and were given tons of suggestions as to how to nurture it. We have ignored 99% of the suggestions and have a thriving pond. Aside of even 'professional' suggestions of dire consequences coming to our pondlife without a 'professionally' made filter system, I made my own filter system and it performs better than most of the $700 and costlier systems on the market.
Our pond is 8'x15' and 4 1/2 deep in the center. Our water quality is great and in 11 years didn't lose a Koi. We did lose 2 this past winter because of frigid weather that froze our pump and consequently the pond, enough so that it affected 2 fish.
I have learned much from having this pond and caring for both the fish and plants it contains.


message 5: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (mjkirkland) | 208 comments Suitable plant life in wetlands is varied depending on the region, and the type of wetland habitats. For the non-wetland specialist, there are many books available, such as Wetlands that can provide an introduction to the types of wetlands and their organisms.

Some plants are fully immersed in water all the time, and others may only grow were emerging or along the edges where the soils dry out occasionally.

Probably more information that you wanted Ann!


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes, I agree. Its the complexity of the restoration/replication that is beyond the scope of nearly all contractors/developers that angers me.


message 3: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (mjkirkland) | 208 comments Wetlands are pretty complex and the restorative goals should be based not only on plant communities, but on the functions of the wetland as well. Wetlands provide habitat for a variety of species from amphibians to birds and insects. They also act as water filters, and as water storage. So these are all aspects of the planning process.

Restoring a degraded wetland doesn't necessarily mean that the restoration activities will bring the wetland back to its original state before disturbance. It should mean that functioning is improved and that the wetland is self-sustaining.

Creating a new wetland involves modifying or working with the existing hydrology in an area to make a basin and introduce wetland species. I think this is where most wetland projects fail because the regulations require only a few years of monitoring, while the establishment of a sustaining plant community can take much longer. Thus, the wetland is considered 'finished' long before its success or failure can really be measured.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

i agree with your assessment of the restorative process. Not only does one have to deal with 'moving' targets, but the process MUST be a duplicate of the original otherwise there is no restoration. Even with luck at duplication, which I maintain is near impossible, I do not believe it will be a clone.
I know very little to nothing with regard to the creation of a wetland where none exists. What would the process be, what plant life would be most suitable,?
As far as enhancing and/or expanding a wetland, it would seem that much thought and timing would have to go into it or the existing wetland might very well be destroyed, in my opinion. I am not a scientist, but my husband is an engineer and I ran a business for him, learning much in the process and forming many opinions. lol


message 1: by Melissa (last edited Jun 13, 2010 10:50AM) (new)

Melissa (mjkirkland) | 208 comments Restoration of wetlands is still a young science. I think there is one important factor when we talk about wetlands and restoration. There is a big difference between trying to create a wetland where none exists, versus enhancing and expanding an existing wetland.

Its apparent to me that restoration of wetlands presents many moving targets because the actions we apply don't necessarily yield the results that we plan on. Adaptive methodology is a must.


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Books mentioned in this topic

Wetlands (other topics)
Parasite Rex: Inside the Bizarre World of Nature's Most Dangerous Creatures (other topics)