Bloomsburg University biology professor Steven Rier has been awarded a grant, in collaboration with the Academy of Natural Science of Drexel University, from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
The grant, valued at $327,000, will allow Rier, his graduate student, and several undergraduate students, to evaluate the vulnerability and resilience to climate change of headwater streams in the Delaware River basin.
“This project will allow my research students and I to collaborate with an amazing group of scientists at the Academy of Natural Science on an important project concerning the health of stream ecosystems in the 21st century,” said Rier.
The grant, titled “Evaluating Headwater Biodiversity, Vulnerability, and Potential Resilience to Inform Conservation in the Delaware Basin,” will also allow researchers to study species in their watersheds that are vulnerable to human activities, including climate change. The project will provide data and approaches that can be applied to protect important headwaters and to give an understanding of where in the watershed climate change may pose a higher threat.
“We will measure ecosystem metabolism in 40 streams over two years,” Rier added. “Ecosystem metabolism is a way of taking the ‘pulse’ of the entire ecosystem. It includes all of the photosynthesis and collective metabolic activity of all organisms from bacteria to fish. We will measure ecosystem metabolism by deploying loggers that measure oxygen, temperature, light, and depth every 15 minutes for an entire year.”
The grant is one of 37 new or continuing conservation and restoration projects totaling $8.12 million for a 2020-year round of funding for Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The 2020 awards generated $22.08 million in non-federal match from the grantees, providing a total conservation impact of more than $30.2 million.
The Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund aims to conserve and restore natural areas, corridors, and waterways on public and private lands to support native migratory and resident wildlife and fish, and native plants; and to contribute to the social health and economic vitality of the communities in the Delaware River watershed.
The fund was launched in 2018 to bring together various stakeholders to collaboratively deliver restoration and conservation efforts throughout the Delaware River Watershed that strategically improve fish and wildlife habitat, grow partner capacity, build networks, and improve project efficiency and focus on a basin-wide scale.
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