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Donna Wear, PhD - Augusta University. Augusta, GA, US

Donna Wear, PhD

Professor | Augusta University


Professor Wear studies watershed ecology





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Areas of Expertise (5)


Urban Ecology

Conservation Issues

Endangered Species

Animal Behavior

Media Appearances (4)

Flowing Wells Springs could be the focus for a new city park

WRDW  online


At any time of the day you can find people like James Wood lining up to fill their bottles and jugs with water from Flowing Wells Springs. The new Augusta Parks Master Plan outlines the area as a key place for a park.

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Dam adding to plight of spider lily

The Augusta Chronicle  online


There are lots of reasons why the Savannah River's Rocky Shoals Spider Lily is endangered, and a newly-published study by two local professors has found at least one more: the excessive changes in river flow caused by hydropower generation at Thurmond Dam.

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Rare Rocky Shoal Spider Lily in bloom on the Savannah River



It’s a special time of year on the Savannah River near Augusta. If you’ve been in the shoals lately, you may have noticed beautiful white flowers with long green stalks. These are the Rocky Shoal Spider Lilies, which are rare and protected. Dr. Donna Wear, a professor with Augusta University, has studied the lilies for over 20 years and says, “we should consider this part of our heritage and we should want to protect it”. She says they were first identified by William Bartram during his “Great Adventure” in the 1770s. Dr. Wear added, “Rocky Shoal Spider Lily was first identified by Bartram somewhere in this shoals area, so literally the Augusta shoals area when he came through. It’s pretty remarkable”. Dr. Wear says they are only found in three states, “South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama and they occur, as it’s called, Rocky Shoal Spider Lily, they’re found in these rocky shoals”.

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'It just takes over': Augustans fighting back against invasive plants at local parks

Augusta Chronicle  print


With more than 1,500 acres of parkland, Augusta has a ton of greenspace. But is the "Garden City" growing friendly florals or botanical bad guys? JP Moss is a consultant for wildlife management at Fort Gordon. But on his off-time, he is managing a combat operation of his own: locating and killing Pendleton King Park's invasive species. "The misconception people have is if it's green, it's wild and good," he said. On a recent stroll through Pendleton, Moss pointed out some of the trees, vines, bushes and other plants in question. While they don't particularly stand out as dangerous, they are actually a foreign, rapidly-reproducing problem doing damage to the local ecosystem. What's worse is that these plants make up a majority of the 64-acre park and are flourishing in other spots across town. Augusta University Professor Emeritus of Ecology Donna Wear explained that residents will often grow these plants at home because they are pretty. But the problem comes when plants like the silver berry grow fruit.

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Articles (1)

Parameters Affecting the Success of Protected Shoals Spider Lily, Hymenocallis Coronaria, in the Savannah River Basin, Georgia

Natural Areas Journal

2011 Populations of state protected Augusta Shoals spider lily (Hymenocallis coronaria) are declining throughout its southeastern range in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. Artificial flow rates and deer herbivory appear to be the major detriments to the three remaining populations of this species in the Augusta Shoals of the Savannah River, Georgia, where it was first discovered in 1773 by William Bartram. High and fluctuating flow rates in the Savannah River during the May–October portion of the growing season adversely affect flowering and seedling establishment compared to a tributary population in Stevens Creek east of Plum Branch, South Carolina.

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