Northeastern Section - 49th Annual Meeting (23–25 March)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


CLARKE, Graham, THIBAULT, Joseph, ANTONUCCIO, Kelly and VAILLANCOURT, Timothy S., Advanced Math and Science Academy, Marlborough, MA 01752,

Elizabeth Brook located east of interstate 495 boarding the towns of Harvard and Stow Massachusetts is susceptible to highway run off. Massachusetts has the highest road salt usage in 2001 when a total of 19.94 tons per lane mile were used that year. The excessive salts leach into local water bodies and may become detrimental to the ecosystem of the wildlife refuge Delaney Project downstream. One species of concern is the Northern Red-belly Cooter which is currently on the list of SPECIAL CONCERNED ENDANGERED/ETC. Soil samples were collected from Elizabeth Brook Reservoir and tested for Magnesium, Calcium, and Potassium Chloride, common chemicals found within road salts. Two core samples were collected one bordering Interstate 495 and another downstream before the river meets with Rt. 117. The elevated Salt content of the soil indicates that the habituate of the Red-belly Cooter could be compromised. The US FWS declared the Cooter Endangered Species in 1980. Other animals at risk include the blue spotted salamander, and the Blandings turtle. To test for the salt quantity in the reservoir the soil samples will be tested for electronegativity and it will be determined whether or not the levels of salt in the environment are enough to be harmful to plants and animals.