WLS Projects

Environmental Education

East Chapel Hill High School

For the past two weeks we have been working on designing environmental education signs for a local high school.  The students and teachers of East Chapel Hill High School planed a landscape restoration project on their school grounds.  The goal of the project was to plant native pollinators as well as native wetland plants.  The educational signs will serve as a way to make the newly planted landscape a great educational resource for the school and for the community as well!

This past weekend members of the WLS team helped install the signs, and we are happy to announce they and the landscape look great! There are three signs which display information about Native Pollinators, Problems Pollinators Face, and Wetlands.  We are very excited to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony coming up in the next week!


What is a Head Cut?

A head cut is a physical feature found in a stream.  It is an erosional feature found in both intermittent (flows only part of the year) and perennial (flows continuously all year) streams.  A head cut occurs where there is an abrupt vertical drop in the streambed.  They usually begin at a knickpoint (sharp change in channel slope) which can be as subtle as an over-steepened riffle or as obvious as a waterfall.  At the base of a head cut a small plunge pool is usually found, caused by the high energy of falling water. As the streambed erodes and lowers the knickpoint the active head cut will migrate upstream.  This is a problem because when a head cut moves up a stream it causes channel incision (the channel bed lowering or down cutting).  This causes the stream to lose access to its floodplain.  Which causes the stream channel to erode even faster because the waters energy is not being dispersed over the floodplain.  The eroding banks lead to trees falling into the stream, therefore causing more erosion.  

The past week on one of our project sites we saw a great example of a head cut.  Below is a picture of the head cut which can be see with a waterfall flowing over the roots of a tree into a pool at the bottom.  Also included is a picture of upstream of the head cut where you can see the stream is in fairly good shape and a picture downstream of the head cut where you can see severe eroding and several trees which are nearly falling in. 


Look at All Those BENTHIC MACROINVERTEBRATES!

Monteith Monitoring Report


Water & Land Solutions is in its second year of monitoring one of the most unique mitigation banks in the industry which is located north of Charlotte, North Carolina.  This past week WLS team members finished collecting data needed to complete the 2016 Monitoring Report.  We are happy to announce that the project is looking great!  We found great diversity and quantities of various benthic macroinvertebrates (small animals living among stones, logs, sediments and aquatic plants on the bottom of streams, rivers, and lakes).  These “benthics” indicate the stream is on its way to becoming a healthy and vibrant ecosystem! Some organisms that we discovered included crayfish, salamanders, mayflies, caddisfly, and a damselfly.  Considering that benthic surveys of the stream prior to construction indicated no presence of any of these benthics, this is a great example of success in a short timeframe!  It’s great to see that our hard work pays off by creating great habitats for these key species.

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	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}    Pictured above is a Damselfly.  These insects are very similar to dragonflies, but have slimmer bodies.  The pictured Damselfly is in the nymph stage, which live in a variety of freshwater habitats.     
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Pictured above is a Damselfly.  These insects are very similar to dragonflies, but have slimmer bodies.  The pictured Damselfly is in the nymph stage, which live in a variety of freshwater habitats.

Pictured above is Salamander. It is an amphibian, typically characterized by its lizard like appearance. They have permeable skin which makes them reliant on habitats that are in or around water.

Pictured above is Salamander. It is an amphibian, typically characterized by its lizard like appearance. They have permeable skin which makes them reliant on habitats that are in or around water.