Restoration of Acidified Stream Ecosystems

Ground and pelletized Wollastonite (CaSiO3) was added to a 50-m reach of an anthropogenically-acidified stream within the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest to evaluate its buffering and restoration potential. The Wollastonite was highly effective in raising the pH, acid-neutralizing capacity (ANC), dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and Ca2+ concentrations of the stream water, but during the short duration of the experiment had no discernable effect on the stream biota. After initial, spike-like fluctuations in pH and concentrations of ANC, DIC and Ca2+, the relatively slow dissolution rates of the Wollastonite dampened extreme concentrations and contributed to relatively long-lasting (4 mo) amelioration of streamwater acidity. Changes in concentrations of Ca2+, dissolved Si, ANC and DIC were inversely related to streamflow. Following several high stream-discharge events, concentrations quickly and consistently returned to pre-spate conditions (Likens et al. 2004).

Read more about the Wollastonite addition on the Hubbard Brook website.

Likens, G. E., D. C. Buso, B. K. Dresser, E. S. Bernhardt, R. O. Hall, Jr., K. H. Macneale and S. W. Bailey. 2004. Buffering an acidic stream in New Hampshire with a silicate mineral. Restoration Ecology 12(3):419-428.

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