Water of Life. Justin Borevitz Prairie Ecosystems 4/17/07. Wetlands. Fish biodiversity as a biomarker of water quality Flooding bring in fertility Diverse habitats == diverse life forms Niche exploitation
Wetlands are areas that are periodically or permanently inundated by surface or ground water and support vegetation adapted for life in saturated soil. Wetlands include swamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas.
Habitat nesting, spawning, rearing and resting sites for aquatic and land species, food chain production
Hydrology protection of other areas from wave action and erosion, storage areas for storm water and flood water, ground and surface water aquifer recharge
Water water quality protection, water filtration and Quality purification, treatment of nonpoint source runoff
Did you know?
Nationwide, an estimated 50 million people spend approximately $10 billion annually observing and photographing wetland-dependent birds.
Albert F. Ettinger
Environmental Law and Policy Center
Feb. 16, 2006
(i) To a new source or a new discharger, if the discharge from its construction will cause or contribute to the violation of water quality standards. The owner or operator of a new source or new discharger proposing to discharge into a water segment that does not meet applicable water quality standards … must demonstrate …
(1) There are sufficient remaining pollutant load allocations to allow for the discharge; and
(2) The existing dischargers into that segment are subject to compliance schedules designed to bring the segment into compliance with applicable water quality standards.
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Hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico
• Little or no oxygen is present
• Little or no marine life can survive
The term for low oxygen is hypoxia. Hypoxia=<2 mg/l dissolved oxygen (DO)
The term for no oxygen is anoxia.
Anoxia =0 mg/l dissolved oxygen
In the U.S., hypoxia occurs in coastal waters in New York, Maryland, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Texas and Louisiana.
Since 1985, the dead zone has ranged in size from about 100 square miles in 1988 to over 8,500 square miles in 2002, one of the largest coastal dead zones in the world
In Louisiana, the dead zone occurs west of the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers hypoxia occurs from late spring until late summer.
Starfish, oysters, clams, sea cucumbers, brittlestars and anemone are all benthos
Warm spring and summer temperatures heat
the water surface.
Calm seas decrease oxygen
exchange at the surface.
Warm fresh water and nutrients are delivered by the Mississippi River and float on the denser saltwater.
A stratified layer is formed with lighter, fresher, warmer water at the surface and heavier, saltier, cooler water near the bottom limiting oxygen mixing throughout the water column.
No O2 mixing
The Mississippi River drains 41% of the lower 48 United States. It carries water and sediment hundreds of miles to the Gulf of Mexico.
Municipal & industrial runoff
Cattle, pig and poultry farm runoff
Nutrients include compounds which contain:
Microscopic algae or phytoplankton use these nutrients to reproduce. Excess nutrients enable plankton populations to explode, causing a plankton or algal bloom.
During decomposition bacteria use up most or all of the available oxygen.
Loss of natural habitat
Mountain snow/ice lost (2)
Trees removal increases runoff, reduces transpiration, affects water table and landscape salinity (3)
Wetlands dried up or drained (4)
Ground- and surface water used for irrigated agriculture (5,6)
Dams alter flow and reservoirs increase evaporation (7,8)
Industrial water coolers release water vapour (9)
Transfers between basins (10)
Urban, mining and construction areas alter water flows and quality (11)
Coastal salt water intrudes inland (12)
Impoundments reduce flows (13)
Siltation, erosion and nutrient flows change coastlines and affect water quality (14)
Levees and locks modify flows and channels (15)
Settlements alter floodplain landscapes (16)
Grazing affects runoff and water quality (17)
Industry causes acid rain (18)
Coastal waters polluted and species lost (19)
Not only bad for migrating fish…
river & organisms
Hoover Dam, Source: US Bureau of Reclamations
Mitch et al., 2001
Map of artificial wetlands project for treatment of agricultural wastewater at Avondale (near Phoenix) Arizona.
© 2003 John Wiley and Sons Publishers
(PHOTO BY ELLIS LUCIA / The Times-Picayune)
Each year an area of marsh close to the size of Manhattan is lost.
The sediment is “shot over the shelf like peas through a peashooter, and lost to the abyssal plain.” - John McPhee
Other causes of loss: subsidence due to lack of sediment and exacerbated by withdrawals of oil and natural gas