water_quality by gishydro


Phosphorus pollution in stream /BMP to curb pollution/ GIS modeling

More Info
									A watershed is in your backyard                          Water Quality Tips
   • its roof is the sky                      • Leave or plant a vegetated buffer strip between
                                              water edges and developed area (100 feet or
   • it stores water in tiny
                                              more is ideal and required by law in some cases).         How you can
       spaces between grains of
       sand                                   • Reduce lawn and driveway areas and replace              IMPROVE
   • it moves water toward a                  with low-growing ground covers, trees and shrubs.
       pond, river or ocean
                                              •Reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides, her-
                                                                                                        WATER QUALITY
                                              bicides or fertilizers on lawns and gardens in
                                              favor of organic products such as compost and
                                                                                                        in your watershed
                                              insect control methods.
  All the land between ridges of
                                              •Use non-phosphate detergents in the home and
  hills drains water toward a stream
                                              when washing cars outdoors.
  or pond. A watershed absorbs rain
  and snow and carries it via                 • Direct rain water from rooftops and driveways
  groundwater to surface water                to an out-of-the-way depression in the lawn or
  ponds and streams. Excess fertil-           gravel-filled trench where it can slowly seep into
                                              the ground.
  izer, septic runoff and other pol-
  lutants can be transported along            • Avoid making ditches or paths that direct rain
  with the groundwater.                       water straight into a stream or waterbody.

                                                    For Further Information
                                                      Audubon Society of Rhode Island
  Watersheds and sub-watersheds
  are often named for the main river
                                                         Division of Water Resources
  that collects the water.                                        222-3166

                                                              Natural Resources
                                                             Conservation Service
                                                                  828-1300                                                Audubon Society
  Your individual actions affect the                                                                                       of Rhode Island
  quality of water in nearby ponds                                USDA                                                       12 Sanderson Road
  and streams.                                         Cooperative Extension Offices                                         Smithfield, RI 02917
                                                             1-800-448-1011                                                       (401) 949-5454

                                              Many thanks to the Maine Audubon Society for permission   EDUCATION   CONSERVATION    ADVOCACY
         Printed on recycled paper.    5/00   to extract watershed information from The Water's Edge.
                        The Water's Edge              Incorporating buffer strips into garden de-                                               Wildlife Habitat
Many homes are located near streams, lakes,           signs is one of the most effective ways to                   Landscape designs that include a buffer strip give
wetlands and woodland pools. Human activities in      protect water quality. Buffer strips                         homeowners the opportunity to choose plants that
gardens and backyards can contaminate or de-          are areas of vegetation, trees,                              provide ample food and cover for wildlife. In the
grade these bodies of water. Causes of these          shrubs and ground cover (other                               winter, evergreens are especially important as
problems include: failing septic systems, the use     than lawns) between places of                                cover for small animals and songbirds. Buffer
of chemical fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides or     human activity and water                                     areas can serve as nurseries for young animals as
weed killers on lawns and gardens, the use of         resources. Roots of plants                                   well as for animals passing from one area to
phosphate detergents, and soil erosion.               trap and hold soil, pre-                                     another. Waterways are used by many species of
                                                      venting excess erosion.                                      wildlife as routes for travel. Buffer strips provide
Solutions to these problems include changes in        Plants and duff, the layer                         o f       protection which will encourage animals to use the
garden practices and landscape designs, and alter-    loose organic matter on the for-        est floor, act       corridor when traveling to and from larger tracts of
natives to the use of toxic or harmful products in    as a filter to absorb and use some of the excess             habitat. Wildlife corridors add opportunities for
and around the home.                                  nutrients carried by runoff.                                 viewing animals in the backyard and add to the
                                                                                                                   health and biodiversity of local wildlife popula-
Not only can garden designs protect water quality,    Lawns are not as efficient as buffer strips at using         tions.
but they can provide productive wildlife habitat.     excess nutrients and preventing erosion. When
Vegetation selected to produce abundant food          homeowners attempt to maintain a picture perfect             Wet areas and the duff layer of a buffer strip
and cover is especially useful and attractive to      lawn they often use large amounts of fertilizers,            provide wildlife habitat for an interesting and
wildlife when in the vicinity of a reliable water     herbicides and pesticides. Some of these chemicals           important group of animals, the insects. Addition-
source. All animals need water and many species       run off and contribute to water quality problems. A          ally, certain insects, such as caddisflies, are indica-
of wildlife do not stray far from water.              mixture of clover, such as white dutch clover and            tors of a biologically rich system and of clean
                                                      grasses can end the need for synthetic nitrogen              water. The nymphs of mayflies, damselflies, and
                                                      fertilizers. The clover fixes the atmospheric nitrogen       dragonflies forage on the bottom of pools, streams
                                                      and it becomes available to the grass. To keep lawns         and wetlands. These and other insects are among
Water Quality                                           healthy, grass should be at least 3 inches long.           the first animals to be affected by contaminated
The combined activities of a com-                                Additionally, grass cuttings should be left       sediments. Since insects are an important link in
munity have a cumulative impact                                  on the lawn. They will decompose and              the food chain, their
on water quality. Runoff water                                   release nitrogen to feed the grass. Two of        death and con-
that carries chemicals, excess                                 the best ways to protect water quality are to       tamination affect
nutrients, bacteria and soil                                 increase buffer strip size and reduce use of          the lives of all
results in water that is                                      chemicals.                                           other types of wild-
hazardous to human                                                                                                 life in the ecosystem.
health and to wildlife. Nutrient accu-                     Gardening techniques can be used to eliminate           Where insects are
mulation accelerates the aging process of lakes,      or limit the use of fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides.   abundant and
ponds and wetlands. This process, called eutrophi-    Plants chosen for the yard that are native to Rhode          diverse, other
cation, normally occurs very slowly. Acceleration     Island and are planted in their preferred soils with the     forms of life will
occurs when nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus)       right light and drainage will grow well without fertil-      be present too.
enter waterways in large quantities in a short        izers. Plants chosen for their value as cover and food       Salamanders,
period of time. The initial result is excess growth   can eliminate the need for pesticides by attracting          frogs, birds
of algae and other plants. Decomposing plants and     birds and insects that prey on pest species. Mulch can       and        even
algae cause an unpleasant odor, cloudy water,         be used instead of herbicides to keep down weeds.            mammals depend                 on insects for food.
depletion of oxygen in the water, and the death of                                                                 Searching for different types of insects and am-
fish and other aquatic animals.                                                                                    phibians is just one more exciting and unique
                                                                                                                   opportunity for wildlife observation.

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