Single identifiable source of pollution – Wastewater treatment plant – Industry Usually permitted Point Source Courtesy NEMO, Univ. of CT
Polluted Runoff is the #1 Water Quality Problem in the U.S.* Polluted Runoff is the #1 Water Quality Problem in the U.S.* * USEPA Courtesy NEMO, Univ. of CT Comes from many different sources – Not one person (or animal) to blame Caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground
Land Use Existing, past, and future land use are key factors to current and future water quality and quantity Different land uses have different impacts on water quality Land Use examples: Urban Suburban Transitional Agriculture Forest / Silviculture
Urban Land Heavy metals Oil Grease Toxic chemicals Dr. Mimi Fearn, USA
Suburban Land Fertilizers Herbicides Pet Waste Washington Dept of Ecology, King County
Transitional Land Sediment
Agricultural / Rural Land Fertilizer Sediment Pathogens from untreated animal waste
Current and Past Legacies Arthur Rothstein, WPA
Development Impacts on the Water Cycle 50% 10% 15% 55% Courtesy NEMO, Univ. of CT
Impervious Surfaces Materials like cement, asphalt, roofing, and compacted soil that prevent percolation of runoff into the ground. Courtesy NEMO, Univ. of CT
In Urban Areas – Water arrives at streams faster – Greater amounts of water – Transporting lots of pollutants More Runoff Arriving Faster Courtesy NEMO, Univ. of CT
What are we losing? Ecosystem Services Shift in the hydrologic cycle – potential reduction in infiltration, evapotranspiration, and storage – Modification of streams – Decrease in groundwater recharge – Increased flooding – Decreased pollutant transformation – Increased erosion – Degradation of habitat Picture Credit Dan Ballard
Impervious surfaces have been linked to degradation of stream water quality and habitat quality Stream Condition Related to Impervious Surface Urban Drainage Network Good Fair Poor Impaired Protected Degraded From Schueler, 2002
Which is healthier?
What were the unhealthy streams missing?
TREES! Natural Habitats Good Water Quality Stream Corridor Restoration: Principles, Processes, and Practices, 10/98, by the Federal Interagency Stream Restoration Working Group (FISRWG)."
What Should We Do? Resource Based Planning for Growth Stormwater Management Urban Forest Enhancement Streamside Forest Protection and Restoration
How does watershed vegetation influence ecosystem health?
Watershed Vegetation Shading Temperature Food sources for aquatic animals Woody debris Bank stability Filtering nutrients and sediments Wildlife Corridor
Cool it. Warmer water holds less dissolved oxygen than cooler waters
Cool it. Warmer water increases metabolic rate of aquatic animals
Cool it. No shade means more stress.
Food sources for aquatic animals Aquatic macroinvertebrates (aka critters) Feeding Groups – Shredders – Filter Feeders – Grazers – Predators Some Photos by M. Clapp
Pollutant Processing University of MN SULIS Leaves Intercept rainfall Stems Slow overland flow Roots and soil microbes Transform pollutants
Bank stability – Erosion Minimization
Erosion Minimization ROOTS! STEMS!
Stable banks and roots provide habitat Undercut bank Roots in water
Habitat and Wildlife Corridors
Streamside Vegetation Shading Temperature Food sources for aquatic animals Woody debris Bank stability Filtering nutrients and sediments Wildlife Corridor
Invasive, Nonnative Plants
Kudzu Chinese privet Japanese Honeysuckle Japanese Climbing Fern Stilt Grass (Microstegium) Wisteria Cogon Grass Invasive, Nonnative Plants
Remove and replace with native vegetation Invasive, Nonnative Plants
Remove and replace with native vegetation Low habitat value Invasive, Nonnative Plants
Remove and replace with native vegetation Low habitat value May not be providing erosion control Invasive, Nonnative Plants
Remove and replace with native vegetation Low habitat value May not be providing erosion control May alter processes like native plant regeneration, decomposition, and nutrient cycling Invasive, Nonnative Plants
Remove and replace with native vegetation Low habitat value May not be providing erosion control May alter processes like native plant regeneration, decomposition, and nutrient cycling Streams act as watershed conveyer belts Invasive, Nonnative Plants