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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 moving over or 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 and natural activities. 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 contamination.
The table below outlines some examples of land uses and their potential problems.
See Appendix D (pdf) for pictures of land use activities.
NOTE: Proper management can reduce the effect of the potential problems.
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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