Skylar Flaska

Ph.D. Candidate, University of Louisiana-Lafayette

2020 Field Travel Grant Type 1

The Impact of Nutrient Rich Wastewater Addition on a Natural Wetland in Louisiana

“My dissertation research focuses on the environmental impacts of using natural wetlands as the final step in municipal wastewater treatment in Louisiana, also known as assimilation wetlands. At these sites, natural wetlands have large amounts of nutrient-rich, secondarily treated, municipal wastewater released into them for the purpose of improving water quality (i.e., reducing nutrient concentrations) before the water enters flows downstream, contributing to coastal nutrient pollution (e.g. helping to limit the Dead Zone). While this process is widely practiced throughout Louisiana, there exist many knowledge gaps regarding the efficacy of this process as well as soil, plant, and animal response to the change in hydraulic and nutrient regimes associated with the continuous press of wastewater. My work will improve understanding of how these environmental factors (e.g., flooding duration and nutrient enrichment) influence wetland ecosystems, and allow for more informed wetland management and conservation practice.”