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SFS Annual Meeting

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In areas that receive snow, road salts are applied to impervious surfaces to clear the snow and ice. The increasing salinity of urban aquatic ecosystems is a potential hazard to aquatic life, and while many studies have investigated the behavior of road salts in streams and lakes, little has been done to examine wetlands. We investigate the type and quantity of salts found in two semi-urban constructed wetlands on Kent State University’s campus in northeast Ohio. Combining high resolution conductivity data with less frequent surface water samples that determine the concentrations of road salt components (chloride, acetate, sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium) results in a robust data set that describes the response of urban wetlands to the application of road salt. Preliminary results indicate that indices of salt are extremely variable (specific conductivity ranges 689-22300 ?s/cm; chloride ranges 74-423 mg/L), and are elevated in the winter months. Insights into salt trends in wetlands, and their potential hazards to aquatic life, can be used to help managers of constructed wetlands make more informed decisions about which salts could minimize negative environmental impacts while still maintaining safe roadways.

Riley Weatherholt (Primary Presenter/Author), Kent State University,;