2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 276-9
Presentation Time: 10:30 AM


HERRMANN, Dustin1, SHUSTER, William D.2, GARMESTANI, Ahjond2 and HAEFNER, Ralph3, (1)Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, U.S. EPA, ORD, NRMRL, 26 West Martin Luther King Drive, MLK-443, Cincinnati, OH 45268, (2)U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Risk Management Research Laboratory, 26 West Martin Luther King Drive, MLK-443, Cincinnati, OH 45268, (3)U.S. Geological Survey, Michigan Water Science Center, 6520 Mercantile Way # 5, Lansing, MI 48911, herrmann.dustin@epa.gov

Ecosystem services – how earth’s natural capital benefits human well-being – are seen as an integral component of creating sustainable cities. Tapping urban ecosystems for provisioning, regulating, and supporting cultural services is a critical area of contemporary study in ecological and earth sciences to further the advancement of urban sustainability. There is a notable lack of data on basic natural resources in urban areas – particularly related to soil structure and associated ecosystem functioning – and the way in which urban transformations have affected the type and quality of services that depend on this structure and function. This knowledge is necessary to understand the constraints and opportunities in applying field data toward informed and effective urban ecosystem management. We use three related empirical examples of how ecosystem services can help manage urban hydrology, and use the concept of exchanges in capital to illustrate these experiences. First, we survey the data needed to judge effectiveness of a stormwater management project that used economic incentives to unlock social and cultural resources through citizen-driven, parcel-level management of stormwater. Second, urban soil hydrologic data were used to define and quantify ecosystem services for several US cities. Third, catchment-scale water cycle monitoring of green infrastructure performance in Cleveland OH and Detroit MI is used to account for their potential contributions to city services, human well-being and environmental integrity. Based on these field datasets, management gaps are thus identified and appropriate interventions are cultivated to increase the provisioning of ecosystem services in urban areas.