Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Plant and Soil Science

First Advisor

Stephanie E. Hurley

Second Advisor

Eric D. Roy


Stormwater runoff from developed land is a source of pollution and excessive flow to waterways. The most commonly employed practices for flow and volume control are stormwater ponds and basins (also referred to as detention and retention ponds). These structures can be effective at controlling peak discharge to water bodies by managing flow timing but are often ineffective at removing nutrients, particularly in dissolved forms. Pond morphology coupled with place-specific characteristics (like soil type and drainage area characteristics) may influence plant community composition in these water bodies. The interaction of physical, chemical, and biological elements in stormwater ponds may affect their water quality performance in more significant ways than previously understood. Floating treatment wetlands (FTW) are floating rafts of vegetation that can be constructed using a variety of materials and are an emerging technology aimed at improving the pollutant removal and temperature control functions of stormwater ponds. Previous studies with field research in subtropical and semiarid climatic regions found incremental nutrient removal improvement correlated with FTW coverage of pond surface area. However, data on their performance in cold climates is lacking from the literature.

This dissertation presents data from a three-year study examining the performance of FTW on stormwater pond treatment potential in cold climate conditions and optimal vegetation selection based on biomass production, phosphorus (P) uptake, and root architectural characteristics that enhance entrapment functionality. To put the FTW pond performance data into context, results from a survey of seven permitted stormwater ponds in Chittenden County, Vermont and the ponds' associated variability in influential internal and external dynamics are also discussed. Pond morphology, drainage area land use, soil types, and biological communities are analyzed for correlative relationships to identify design factors that affect pond performance but are not controlled factors in stormwater system permitting.



Number of Pages

157 p.