ERDC Aquatic and Wetlands Center Laboratory

– [Host] Welcome to the Aquatic and Wetlands Ecosystems Research and Development Center. Our scientists study at risk fish and other aquatic life, help control invasive aquatic plants, ^study how to protect wetlands and coastal areas, ^and conduct research on aquatic ecosystems. This facility is part of the environmental laboratory at the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The 45 scientists and others working here and at another facility in Texas are finding solutions to big challenges across the United States and abroad. They work with Corp of Engineers, districts and divisions, military installations, local, state, and federal agencies, and private companies and universities. Our Fish Ecology Team is working to curtail the spread of invasive Asian carp throughout the Mississippi River system and keep the damaging fish out of the Great Lakes. ^This team is studying how underwater electric barriers ^may keep the carp at bay and it has developed ^the world’s largest mobile swim tunnel ^to aid in field studies. ^The team’s research is helping protect endangered sturgeon ^and other ancient species such as paddlefish. The center maintains thousands of live fish for use in research and it is an internationally certified animal care facility. The team works with a variety of invertebrates, including freshwater mussels, freshwater shrimp, and aquatic insects. Invertebrates are indicators of environmental health and water quality and they are important to the aquatic food chain. ^The team also conducts field studies on topics such as ^how ecosystem restoration projects affect fish ^and other aquatic life ^and the ecological dynamics of large river flood plains. Our Invasive Aquatic Plant Team has been finding safe ^and efficient ways to control noxious plants for decades. It is part of the only federally authorized program of it’s kind in the nation, one that has it’s beginnings in the late 1800s. ^It finds and studies insects, fish, fungi, and chemicals to control plants such as waterhyacinth, ^Eurasian watermilfoil, alligator weed, and hydrilla. ^These plants clog rivers and lakes, harm native ecosystems, ^block water intake pipes, and make boating difficult. Non-native invasive plants and animals cost the United States billions of dollars a year. Our Wetlands and Coastal Ecology Team works to improve the state of wetlands science and management through basic research, method development, field data collection and analysis, and publications. This team is responsible for developing National Wetlands Delineation Procedures so regulators across the country can determine the boundaries and values of wetlands. It also conducts research in a variety of coastal environments, on the effects of dredging, beach nourishment, and channel deepening. The team’s work benefits many types of fish and wildlife, including birds, salamanders, sea turtles, and others. Field training of Corp of Engineers professionals is another important function. Our Ecosystem Team is based in Texas, at the Lewisville Aquatic Ecosystem Research Facility. This experimental research facility provides an intermediate scale research environment and has been used to support studies of biology, ecology, and invasive plant management for more than 20 years. The facility has 53 experimental ponds and 18 flowing water raceways, as well as large outdoor tanks, research greenhouses, and laboratories. The facility also can provide large-scale production of aquatic and riparian plants for habitat restoration projects. The team works with Corp of Engineers districts, various public agencies, and others to support such things as native plant introduction, biological and chemical control of invasive plants, and the control of zebra mussel infestations. (pulsing electronic music)

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