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Mason scientists to continue ecological study of Hunting Creek for 2022 to 2023

R. Christian Jones, Professor/Director, Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center (PEREC), Environmental Science and Policy (ESP); T. Reid Nelson, Assistant Professor, ESP, PEREC; Amy Fowler, ESP, PEREC; Benoit Van Aken, Associate Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry, PEREC; and Randolph McBride, Associate Professor, Geology and Oceanography, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Environmental Science (AOES), PEREC, are set to receive funding from Alexandria Renewal Enterprises for: "An Ecological Study of Hunting Creek: 2022-2023." 

This project will consist of three components. 

The first component of the study will focus on water quality, plankton, submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), and benthos monitoring.   

The second component will focus on fish monitoring with seines, trawls, and fyke nets and an anadromous fish survey.  

 The third component will consist of an E. coli study that the researchers will conduct at all water quality sites during basic water quality monitoring cruises and shore sampling.  

Via these studies, the researchers aim to provide baseline and ongoing trend analysis of the ecosystems receiving reclaimed water from this facility, combined sewer overflows from portions of the City of Alexandria, and nonpoint runoff from the drainage area of Hunting Creek including portions of Alexandria and Fairfax County with the objective of adaptive management of these valuable freshwater resources.  

Their secondary, but important, educational goal is to provide training for Mason graduate and undergraduate students in water quality and biological monitoring and assessment. 

The researchers will receive $155,802 from Alexandria Renewal Enterprises for this work. Funding will begin in July 2022 and will end in late June 2023. This work has been ongoing annually since 2013.