Peter Levi, a professor in the environmental science and policy program at Drake University, will deliver a lecture at noon Friday entitled, “Is restoration a cure for unhealthy streams and rivers?”
The topic is relevant to Perry because environmental science and policy students from Drake are currently studying ways to restore and improve Frog Creek, which runs through Perry.
“I’ll be speaking on some of my past research,” Levi said, “and using that to look ahead towards interdisciplinary collaborations both on campus and around Des Moines.” One of these off-campus collaborations is with Perry’s Frog Creek.
Levi’s lecture is part of the Drake University Science Colloquium series, a program in the Drake Undergraduate Science Collaborative Institute. He will speak at noon in the Harvey Ingham 134 lecture hall on the Drake campus.
“We depend on freshwater ecosystems for diverse services, from drinking water and physical sustenance to recreation and spiritual solitude,” Levi said. “Yet streams and rivers in urban watersheds are often severely degraded — some are buried underground, and those above ground are often highly channelized. The urban stream syndrome refers to the collective physical, chemical and biological impairments that impact these ecosystems.”
Levi’s research in stream restoration asks a few basic questions: Does recreating a natural stream ecosystem in an urban landscape reverse the symptoms of the syndrome? What is the value of the restoration to the stream itself and the surrounding community?
His recent research investigates the ecological and social impacts of stream restorations in Milwaukee, Wis. Levi said his work demonstrates stream restorations can improve some ecosystem metrics, but the size of the stream and restoration have a strong effect on the results.
“Taken together, we can work with management agencies and municipalities to identify the best locations within urban watersheds to restore next from both ecological and social perspectives,” Levi said.
Levi will be in Perry Saturday for the Raccoon River Watershed Association (RRWA) meeting at the Hotel Pattee. The theme of the March RRWA meeting is prairie ecology and farming. It begins at 9 a.m. and is free and open to the public.