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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Southwest Guilford High School, North Carolina

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Southwest Guilford High School, North Carolina
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jdlovett



Registered: December 2022
City/Town/Province: SUMMERFIELD
Posts: 1
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Southwest Guilford High School Floating Vegetation Mats Proposed and completed by Jason Lovett - Eagle Scout Candidate Development of the project to meet a perceived need of the community


The purpose of the mats was to improve the quality of stormwater runoff from several of the schools athletic fields (See illustration below). Currently, the run-off is high in fertilizer which is applied to the athletic fields during in-season sporting events. The floating vegetation mats would reduce the amount of phosphors and nitrogen in the run-off, provide vegetative cover to fish, provide areas for turtles to sun themselves, and increase the oxygen content of the pond which will improve fish and wildlife habitat. Based on previous sampling results performed by other biology classes and AP environmental Science classes, the water quality was found to be moderate to poor. This project was proposed increase the quality of the stormwater in the retention pond and the quality of any water discharges form the pond.


The proposed Eagle Scout service project was to construct and install/deploy up to three floating vegetation mats in one stormwater retention pond. The purpose of the mats is to improve the quality of stormwater runoff from several of the school's athletic fields. Currently, the runoff is high in fertilizer which is applied to the athletic fields during in season sporting events. The floating vegetation mats would reduce the amount of (fertilizer) phosphors and nitrogen in the runoff, provide vegetative cover to fish, provide areas for turtles to sun themselves, and increase the oxygen content of the pond which will improve fish and wildlife habitat.


Southwest High School representatives have had discussions with representatives of High Point engineering department and they indicated no permits are necessary for the construction of the floating vegetated mats. Permissions were obtained from the Principal of Southwest High School and Mr. Muse (AP environmental Science Teacher and Eagle Scout project beneficiary).


Use of sustainable practices


The floating vegetation mats would be constructed using primarily recycled and environmentally neutral materials. The foundation for the structure would be from recycled corrugated 4-inch diameter drain piping. The piping will be filled with recyclable capped plastic bottles to aid in the flotation of the structure.


Unique or unusual accomplishments under adverse conditions that dictated the defined action: Covid19 was still a concern during the planning of the project. Initially, the candidate planned for assembly be conducted outside and try to socially distance while the project is underway. Additionally the volunteers would be working in small 3-4 person groups. Everyone would be required to provide and wear their own face coverings. No volunteer would be allowed to participate without this minimum level of protection. The mask mandate was lifted prior to the project construction phase so masks were deemed optional.


Economic challenges and the rationale of the chosen option.


This was a project was performed by a BSA Eagle Scout candidate and who was responsible for obtaining the funding and coordinate the donations to complete the project. Based on the proposed budget the cost would be more than the scout could self-fund. He made requests to purchase certain materials at cost the keep the project cost as low as possible.  


Creative use of resources, equipment, labor, or find that produced measurable benefits to the community. The total final project cost $789.69 - the SWGHS Fishing Club contributed $543.39 of the expenses being reimbursed for materials/supplies. PSI donated the corrugated pipe that had an estimated value (based on the receipt paperwork) of $103.55. The plants were purchased form Carolina Pondscapes (at cost ~$325.00 which was paid for with the SWGHS Fishing Club contribution). The candidate's parents and the candidate covered the remaining $142.75 which was primarily for food and refreshments.


The candidate also requested scouts and SWGHS Fishing Club members to participate as part of the service to others or Conservation service hours required for rank advancement. (The candidate was able to secure four SWGHS fishing club members, nine scouts from various troops and seven adults to help in the preparation and execution of the project. Benefits to the community include the reduction in fertilizer loading of stormwater ponds and the stormwater pond has been (and continues to be) a location for various Eagle Scout projects and is very frequently used by the high school biology and environmental science teachers as an convenient and free outdoor learning laboratory/classroom and monitoring area.


Construction processes that minimize the impact to the community and its residents during construction: The construction was completed using volunteers on a weekend. The assembly location was remote and provided sound and visual screening to minimize and disruption to the surrounding community and beneficiary school.


Environmental protection elements and how they were incorporated into the project design and execution: The mats were anchored more than 10 feet from the shore (see photo of final deployment of two of the mats) to eliminate the potential for the selected aquatic plants from aggressively taking over the existing native species along the bank. The type of plants selected were chosen to aggressively remove nutrients from the stormwater pond and would not need seasonal attention. The selected plants would survive winter and be contained to the floating structure once installed. The candidate also limited each mat to have only one plant species to increase survivability.


With the incorporation of turtle ramps on each side of the floating mats design (see photo of three completed mats) the candidate hope to provide additional and safe habitat for frogs and turtles. The candidate also hopes that the mats will provide structure and protection for fish in the stormwater pond.


Additional key project information such as quality control, value engineering, construction innovations, community engagement: This pond has been part of an ongoing (several year) AP Environmental Science and AP and Honors biology water quality monitoring program. With the construction of the floating vegetated mats and the proposed focus to reduce fertilizer loading. It is expected that this will be observable as future AP Environmental Science classes continue the monitoring events.
Date: December 12, 2022 Views: 884 File size: 26.6kb, 3025.6kb : 3024 x 4032
Hours Volunteered: 140
Volunteers: 15
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 12-18
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 2.2 acres
Trash Removed/Recycled from Environment (kg): N/A
Native Trees Planted: 70+ plants in three mats
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