Research

Projects

The following is a selection of our active and recent research projects. For a listing of some of the Center’s most important past projects, please visit our Findings section.

Christina River Basin Critical Zone Observatory

The “critical zone” lies between rock and sky. It is essential to life — including human food production — and helps drive Earth’s carbon cycle, climate change, stream runoff, and water quality. The Christina River Basin Critical Zone Observatory (CRB-CZO) is an environmental observatory led by a multidisciplinary team of scientists from Stroud Water Research Center and the University of Delaware, and seeks to understand how water, atmosphere, ecosystems, and soils interact and shape the Earth’s surface. Read more about CRB-CZO.

Schuylkill River Project

Our Schuylkill River project is an effort to describe stream water quality throughout the 1900-square mile Schuylkill River basin in southeastern Pennsylvania. We assess stream condition by sampling the macroinvertebrates (mostly insects, crustaceans, mollusks and worms) that live on the stream bottom. From 1996 to 2008 more than 130 sites were sampled to provide a complete picture of conditions withing the major tributaries of the Schuylkill basin. Read more about the Schuylkill Project.

The Peru Project

Funded by a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, a team of 12 scientists and educators from Stroud Water Research Center, along with collaborators from Florida A&M University and from Peru, traveled to Madre de Dios, Peru, for an 18-day expedition to sample 33 sites, which ranged from small streams to the Madre de Dios and Tambopata rivers. The goals: to establish a baseline of scientific data on stream health and to create inexpensive education programs for the people of the region. Read more about the Peru Project.

The Stroud Preserve Reforested Riparian Buffer

The Stroud Preserve riparian reforestation project is a demonstration of the three-zone Riparian Forest Buffer System (RFBS) developed by the U.S.D.A. Forest Service. The primary objectives of this project are to: (1) evaluate the non-point source reductions of the RFBS in the relatively high-relief terrain of the Mid-Atlantic Piedmont, (2) assess the time required after reforestation to achieve significant mitigation, and (3) establish specific guidelines for planting and managing forest buffers zones in the mid-Atlantic region. Read more about the Stroud Preserve.

Tropical Research: Costa Rica, Long-Term Research in Environmental Biology

In 1989 the Center helped establish the Maritza Biological Station in the Guanacaste Conservation Area of Costa Rica. Located at the base of the Orosí Volcano in the northwest corner of the country, the station is the Center’s headquarters for the study of tropical ecosystems. It also serves as an information source for Latin American scientists and land managers who are interested in implementing conservation strategies in tropical streams and watersheds. Read more about Costa Rica LTREB.

White Clay Creek, Pennsylvania, Long-Term Research in Environmental Biology

In 1998 the White Clay Creek (WCC) experimental watershed, extending from the Center north to the headwaters, was designated as a site for long-term research in environmental biology (LTREB). National Science Foundation LTREB funds are being used to help maintain an on-going project examining stream and watershed characteristics associated with a riparian zone restoration/reforestation. Read more about WCC LTREB.

White Clay Creek Stream Watch

The Stream Watch Project was initiated because of concerns of rapid land development in the White Clay Creek (WCC) watershed. The project sought to evaluate water quality in WCC and its tributaries using aquatic macroinvertebrates, and to make the data available to local education outreach and community groups in order to encourage efforts to assess, improve, and protect water quality in the watershed. Read more about Stream Watch.

The New York Project

In 2000 the Center was awarded a Safe Drinking Water Act grant funded by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the United States Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a six-year study to monitor and evaluate water quality and sources of pollution in the streams, rivers, and reservoirs that provide New York City’s drinking water. The project involved every research group at the Center and was designed to enhance on-going monitoring projects and to provide an additional baseline of information. Read more about the New York Project.