Baltimore Ecosystem Study Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2012 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Response of urban watersheds to storm events: adapting urban hydrology research for inquiry-driven science education
Kather, Mark
Co-Authors: Mark Kather, Baltimore County Public Schools in association with the BEST Project, Townson University. Dr. Andrew Miller, CUERE, UMBC

Abstract: This past summer I began a one year cohort program with the Baltimore Excellence in STEM Teaching Project. The BEST project engages science, math, and technology teachers in research projects and has them adapt their experiences for inquiry-based learning at the high-school level. My research experience with Dr. Andrew Miller of UMBC focused on analyzing the hydrologic response of streams to storm events in the Gwynns Falls watershed. My task was to analyze stream discharge and precipitation data for short- duration “pulse” events and larger storm events, and to construct representative unit hydrographs for multiple Gwynns Falls subwatersheds. The data were averaged and tabulated to aid comparison among subwatersheds. My research experience will be translated into a series of inquiry-driven learning opportunities for high school students. Students will analyze stream discharge and precipitation data using EXCEL and will compare the hydrographs they generate with the areas’ physical and land use characteristics. Students will examine stream response to storm events and study the magnitude and frequency of high flows in streams from different watersheds, and then use GIS analysis to see whether they can assess what might be responsible for differences. Finally, students will investigate existing state laws and regulations that have been put in place to try to mitigate the effects of development and design a study plan to determine their effectiveness.