Envirothon - Aquatics January 2011
Outline • Overview of the water cycle • Chemical/Physical Properties • Water Sampling • Macro invertebrates • Watershed • Conservation/Pollution • Stream buffers • Wetlands & Aquifers
WATER CYCLE Water covers 70% of the earth’s surface. Water is a renewable substance – it is continuously being recycled.
WATER CYCLE Hydrologic cycle: Continual movement of water from the atmosphere to Earth's surface through precipitation and back to the atmosphere through evaporation and transpiration.
CHEMICAL PROPERTIES OF WATER Two hydrogen atoms attached to one oxygen atom The chemical structure of water provides it with some very unique properties. H 2 O
CHEMICAL PROPERTIES OF WATER Water is a very stable compound – it is difficult to break it apart into its component. 100˚C – boils and evaporates 0˚C – freezes and expands 4˚C – waters density is at its highest
PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF WATER Specific heat pH Conductivity Universal Solvent – it can dissolve a large number of different chemicals (salinity, nitrates, phosphates, etc. We test freshwater streams to determine levels of these solutes. They help us determine whether or not a stream has good water quality.
PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF WATER NITRATES
PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF WATER PHOSPHATES
PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF WATER SALINITY
PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF WATER TEMPERATURE
Water Sampling Humphreys Brook, Summer 2009 Breached Sediment Fence SEDIMENTATION
Water Sampling E. COLI
MACRO-INVERTEBRATES Indicator of aquatic life (biodiversity) They are a link in the food chain They are sensitive to pollution Macro-invertebrates can be used as indicators of water quality.
Tidal Bore The Petitcodiac River was once known for its tidal bore being the highest in North America, over two meters
Water Conservation Methods • Three areas to conserve water: Household, Commercial, and Agricultural • For household: Low-flush toilets, high-efficiency clothes washers. • For Commercial: Reclamation systems (ie. Car washes), waterless urinals, steam sterilizers. • For Agricultural: Overhead irrigation, or, a more expensive but successful measure, drip irrigation.
Point & Non-Point Pollution • Point Polution: where wastewater/contaminants enter a waterway through discrete means, ie. Ditch or pipe. • Sewage treatment plants, factories, storm drains, etc. • Non-Point Polution: where wastewater/contaminants enter a waterway through a larger in-discrete means, ie. Agricultural field, urban runoff. • Parking lots/roads/highways, agriculture, etc.
STREAM BUFFERS Prevents erosion of banks Provides shade to the stream (temperature control) Filters pollution from entering the stream Supplies shelter and food to aquatic animals Easy way to improve water quality
WETLANDS Natural buffers Acts as a sponge during large storms Naturally filters water Sustains more life than any other ecosystems Canada has 14% of wetlands of the world 65% of coastal wetland in Atlantic Canada have been damaged through agriculture and urban development.
Types of Aquifers • Unconfined and Confined
Freshwater Distribution • Canada: We have 7% of the worlds’ freshwater.
Water: A Finite Resource • Rate of water consumption overcomes the rate of renewal • Statistics Canada has determined freshwater in Canada has been in decline for the last 30 years • 90% of this lost freshwater has gone towards economic activity, only 9% has gone towards residential us • Hydraulic Fracturing – “fracking” process that results in the creation of fractures in rocks.
Impact on Aquatic Ecosystems • The Petitcodiac Causeway • 10 million cubic meters of silt • Restricted movement of fish • Reduced the region’s salmon catches by 100% • Biomass Harvesting • Reduced soil pH can result in acidifying water source(s) nearby (Pollett River) • Difficulties with erosion control • Reduced shade/buffer zones for nearby watersources