Carbon and nitrogen fluxes in green-infrastructure basins

Sierra Bettis1, Thomas Meixner1
1Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona

Green infrastructure (GI) in the form of passive rainwater harvesting basins, provides a way to help cities manage stormwater runoff efficiently and decrease the use of potable water sources. This research evaluates GI basins in the High School Wash neighborhood (HSWN) in Tucson, AZ and focuses on gas fluxes based on the maintenance condition of basins. Higher carbon and nitrogen are indicative of soil health. In turn, healthier soils support plant growth, and plant roots stabilize the soil and decrease the likelihood of erosion. In addition, preliminary data from Swartz (2018) suggested that poorly-maintained basins had higher hydraulic conductivity, which correlates with higher-functioning basins. Soil cores were collected from GI basins in the HSWN and were tested to determine saturated hydraulic conductivity values. Bagged soil samples were collected and tested for carbon and nitrogen fluxes. The goal of this research is to understand the effect of GI on soil quality compared to non-GI basins. We intend to determine whether GI basins have higher carbon and nitrogen fluxes and whether the maintenance of GI basins is correlated with hydraulic conductivity values.

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