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Main Curriculum Tie:
Background For Teachers:
Watersheds can transport non-point source pollution. Non-point source pollution is associated with rainfall and snowmelt runoff moving over and through the ground, carrying natural and human made pollutants into water sources. Examples of non-point source pollutants are fertilizers, pesticides, sediment, gas, and oil. Pollutants accumulate in watersheds as a result of various human driven and natural events. These pollutants, while sometimes inevitable, drastically alter the state of the ecosystem. If we can determine the type of pollutant and its cause, then we can classify the source of the pollutant and take preventative measures to reduce any further contaminants. Below are some examples of land use and their potential problems:
NOTE: These problems only occur because of a lack of proper management.
Aquatic macroinvertebrates can indicate the level of water quality. Stoneflies, mayflies, and caddisflies (called indicator species) are not well adapted to living in water with high levels of pollution. They are pollution intolerant. Often, when these species are limited or absent in a river or stream where they typically should be found, that can be indicative of poor water quality. Aquatic macroinvertebrates can be classified by their level of tolerance to pollution.
NOTE: Be sure the students understand that the factors (materials) we consider non-point source pollutants only become a problem when they are used incorrectly. For example, oil and gas become a problem when they are leaking onto the ground and washing into a water body. Fertilizers and pesticides become a problem when too many are applied and they run off into a water body.
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