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Chesapeake Bay located inland from the Atlantic Ocean is found in the United States. The bay spun both several states including Maryland and Virginia (Walter, 2003). There are approximately 150 flowing into the bay. The diverse watershed is expansive and covers 64000 square miles. This bay forms a habitat for over 2700 species of both plants and animals. The estuary has attracted a huge number of inhabitants with the population set to increase. The rapidly expanding population poses a major challenge to the integrity of the bay.
The bay provides lots of recreational activity for people with fisheries being one of them. The water in the bay not only provides places for fishing, birding and boating opportunities but also for drinking for the six states surrounding the watershed (Walter, 2003). This paper will look into the environmental concern of the melting ice and its influence on the Bay. Furthermore, the paper will highlight the importance of the watershed, its environmental impact, policy response to the environmental issues raised and the pros and cons of the policy response (Walter, 2003).
Salt, snow melt and Chesapeake Bay
Winter in Chesapeake Bay lasts for an average of 15 days with snowfall, sleet and freezing rain characterizing the period (Horton, T., & Chesapeake Bay Foundation, 2003. The winter weather wreaks havoc to community living around the Bay. This prompted the authorities to remove snow and ice from the road to keep operations in the Bay ‘normal’. Increasingly, the community is relying on salt to keep the roads clear. There is an environmental concern when salt and other chemicals find the application in keeping the roads open (Lippson & Lippson, 2006).
Road salting has become a phenomenon in the region unlike in the past where sand and other abrasives found high relevance to keep the roads clear. Local authorities have shifted to the use of road salt with the annual application of the same increasing depending on the severity of the winter. The Bay is situated on the traditional Snow Belt which raises the environmental impact of the road salt application. On average, about 20 tons are applied during the winter period on the roads. With no statistics available on road salt application, there are an estimated 2.5 million tons used. This is a lot of salt which ends up draining in the fresh water Bay.
Chesapeake Bay is an estuary which has an interface of both freshwater and salty seawater (Horton, T., & Chesapeake Bay Foundation, 2003). The freshwater comes from the tributaries while salty water arises from the ocean. The contrast between the natures of both waters provides a balance in the ecosystem. Seawater is denser than the fresh water. This implies that salty sea water flows at the bottom of the bay while freshwater flows on the top. The Bay rarely freezes due to salty water although the surface may freeze allowing people to walk over it.
The environmental implication of road salt application is the dissolution of chloride ions into the water. Once dissolved it becomes virtually difficult to remove the chloride ions (Lippson & Lippson, 2006). Road salting becomes a primary source of chloride ions dissolved in the fresh water of the Bay. In addition to chloride ions, road salt is awash with many impurities such as phosphorus, copper, nitrogen and even cyanide. Cyanide finds application in road salt as an anti-caking agent.
Under the conditions of application, it is transformable to free cyanide, which poses a danger to aquatic life (Lippson & Lippson, 2006). Fresh snow is relatively pure, but after a while the snow pack becomes contaminated with salt spray, street dirt, and airborne pollutants. When the snow melts, the pollutants in it find the way to the waterways. Some of the pollutants include; zinc, copper and hydrocarbons. After the snow melt, pollutants concentration in the run-off is at its greatest peak annually.
Chloride in drinking water is safe until it exceeds a concentration of 250 ppm. There are consequential environmental impacts of chloride and melt-water pollution to the Bay. In concentrations of 1000ppm, chloride is harmful to the aquatic life. During winter, chloride levels exceed this concentration. Melting snow on the road creates an artificial salt lick that attracts birds and mammals. Natural licks were considered best for hunting as the wild life crave salt in their diet. Artificial licks have other contaminants that get into the bio systems of the wildlife in the Chesapeake Bay. Road kill has become a recent phenomenon as the mammals lick salt by the roadside.
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Salting has increased salinity levels of the soils within a few feet from the road although they extend further from the point of application (Lippson & Lippson, 2006). Many plants species in the Bay become sensitive to increased chloride levels and may die or fail to germinate under such harsh conditions. Plants that are not salt tolerant will fail to grow resulting to withering of the species or even complete disappearance. Salting accelerates rusting of metal surfaces, which includes the underside of cars and bridges.
This contributes to the presence of ferric (iii) oxide in the watershed. The seepage of salty water to ground water often leads to danger on animal and human health. Dieback and leaf damage are observed on the plant species with salt tolerant ones invading. Salty water layer at the bottom hinders the availability of nutrients for the aquatic life. Salt toxicity is a common feature for both the birds and animals inhabiting the Bay. Fresh water fish under the saline condition fails to utilize nutrients due to impairment of its metabolic processes.
Many states within the US have set guidelines on the level of chloride. The criterion maximum concentration or limit should be 860 mg/l for short-term exposure while, for long term exposure, it should be 230mg/l or less (Lippson & Lippson, 2006). These stringent measurements find applications in areas where rare and sensitive species inhabit. The policies adopted are variable depending on the member states relying on the watershed. For instance, Texas applied the use-attainability analyses to determine the water quality standards in specified streams with the chloride concentration varying from 50mg/l to 37,000 mg/l. Wyoming uses federal chloride standards specified for aquatic life, and the water meant for drinking. There are also site specific standards used which complicates the general criteria (Walter, 2003).
Collaboration is an element used to determine water standards for the river basins and cross state lines. An example of this collaboration is Delaware River Basin Commission which encompasses states such as Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. In this collaborative move, the water quality needs to meet set standards (Horton, T., & Chesapeake Bay Foundation, 2003. Median values have been used to measure the water quality in the watershed.
Salt transportation agencies are required to balance salt application with the public safety concerns. The consensus on minimizing environmental impacts of snow melt is controlling storm water run-off and minimizing the creation of impervious surfaces. There is a policy oriented at using substitute de-icing agents that pose limited environmental effects. Pieces of the legislature are available for the management of the same with Salt Management Plan underway. States have shifted away from road salt application to the use of brine which has minimal environmental impact. Storage techniques for salt and sand should be adopted to prevent possible run-off Horton, T., & Chesapeake Bay Foundation, 2003.
There are potential obstacles to some of the policies responses. Many states have a different set standards in managing the right application, which complicates the universal goal towards the management of the same (Lippson & Lippson, 2006). Alternative means are expensive and often not effective in de-icing. Most people are ignorant in the management of the watershed thus; it becomes difficult to get the right volunteers for the adoption of policies. Seeking funding from the government to implement the policies especially when there is conflict of interests becomes difficult. This provides an obstacle to the coordinating the implementation of the policies and other strategies geared at managing the watershed. Continual monitoring of the watershed for detection of the abnormal salinity levels is a necessity (Lippson & Lippson, 2006).
Alternative de-icing methods is potential response in the approach of increased chloride ions in the watershed.
They will decrease the amount of salinity in the watershed
They are easier in use and application, for instance the use of trucks to clear the road.
They are environmental friendly which support the flourishing of species living in the watershed
There is limited contamination of the ground water and water meant for drinking
Reduces contaminating of snow packs with additional materials such as cyanide
They are often expensive especially the use of trucks to move away the ice
They are comparatively inefficient in comparison to the use of road salt, which accelerates snow melt.
Horton, T., & Chesapeake Bay Foundation (2003). Turning the tide: Saving the Chesapeake Bay. Washington, D.C: Island Press.
Lippson, A. J., & Lippson, R. L. (2006). Life in the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Walker, S. M. (2003). Life in an estuary. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Co.
The Chattahoochee River cuts through Alabama and Georgia forming the border between these two states. It flows from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia and moves southwest to the Alabama State line. The river also touches part of the border of Florida, and it happens to be a tributary of the Apalachicola River (Kaufman, 191). The Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers empty their water into the Apalachicola in the Gulf of Mexico from Florida. A watershed refers to a geographical area that consists of all the land that the river flows through or under on its course downstream. Evidence shows that, for a very long period, humans have been residing along the banks of the Chattahoochee River.
However, in the recent past there have cases of pollution of the Chattahoochee watershed. Pollution happens to be one of the environmental problems that causes trouble everywhere in the world. With the river cutting through three states, it would be expected that the problem of pollution would be solved much easily. The three states should rather come together and fight this pollution problem (Watershed Projects, 80). In the past, the Chattahoochee River was mainly used for navigation purposes. This has, however, changed, and the river is now used for recreation and as a source of drinking water. This is the reason why Alabama, Georgia and Florida fight for unlimited control of the Chattahoochee watershed.
One of the main causes of pollution in the Chattahoochee watershed is the human recreation activities. Despite the millions of people depending on this river from the three states, some humans are still ignorant enough to throw waste into the river. Other who go camping and hiking on the river banks, end up contaminating the rivers with their trash. Residents who also go to the river to do their laundry and such activities also contribute to the pollution of the river (Calhoun, 67). In the past year, the Atlanta environmental officials collected about five hundred and sixty eight tons of trash from the river: inclusive of seven automobiles.
Another cause of pollution especially in Atlanta is the wastewater problem. The state needs to regulate its dispersal of wastewater and avoid cases where the waste water ends up in the mainstream of the river. Another reason that is contributing to the pollution of the Chattahoochee watershed is the industries. The construction of industries in the last few decades, in the three states, has been very high. However, the effluents that the industries release to the river also contribute to pollution. Industries are notorious for the release of effluents that contain chemicals which have a negative effect to the marine life.
Soil erosion and sedimentation are one of the causes of pollution to the river. Evidence for soil erosion and sedimentation is the change in the color of the Chattahoochee River and its feeders after it rains. The color of the river changes to muddy brown or orange-red which is not healthy for the river. Soil erosion according to Georgian environmentalists is the most critical water quality problem facing the county. These eroded sediments contribute for about 80% pollution of the river (Watershed Projects, 39). In the case of the sedimentation becoming excess, aquatic habitats end up destroyed in that they lose diversity and complexity.
Other effects include, the damaging of fish gills, preventing sunlight from reaching the aquatic plants, and the mud denies the aquatic animals of their spawning grounds. Some parts that have experienced excessive sedimentation and erosion also inhibit human recreational activities. With excessive sedimentation, it becomes difficult to swim, raft or even fish in a peaceful manner. Drinking water that is harvested from the river also needs to go under severe treatment before being supplied. This is because chemicals are needed to clean water to make it healthy for human consumption (Calhoun, 56). The pipes that supply water end up clogging due to the mud from the water prompting the state to use a lot of time and money to get rid of this mud.
There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel, and there is a project that aims at saving the Chattahoochee River. The Chattahoochee River way is one of the new and most ambitious efforts to try and savage the Chattahoochee River from its demise. This involves the establishment of a 180-mile greenway along the river from Helen to Columbus. This initiative is sponsored by the Nature Conservancy of Georgia and Trust for Public Land (TPL). The aim of this project is to conserve the Chattahoochee River. By the end of the project, the river should have at least five hundred feet of parkland on both sides of the river.
In conclusion, for this pollution problem to be solved, the three states need to come together and make a viable resolution. All the effluents released by the industries first have to be checked to ensure they are environmentally favorable (Bergandi, 71). The recreation activities on the Chattahoochee River need to be checked to ensure they do not have a negative effect on the river. The most important resolution would be to ensure that there is public awareness. The public should be warned of the result of their ignorance to avoid polluting the river in a good mind. The pollution problem affecting the Chattahoochee River can be solved only if the public and the authorities take responsibility (Goel, 40).
Bergandi, Donato. The Structural Links between Ecology, Evolution and Ethics: The Virtuous Epistemic Circle. Dordrecht: Springer, 2013. Internet resource. Pg 71.
Calhoun, Yael, and David Seideman. Water Pollution. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2005. Internet resource. Pg 56, 67.
Goel, P K. Water Pollution: Causes, Effects and Control. New Delhi: New Age International, 2006. Print. Pg 40.
Kaufman, David R. Peachtree Creek: A Natural and Unnatural History of Atlanta's Watershed. Athens: University of Georgia Press in cooperation with the Atlanta History Center, 2007. Print.Pg 191.
Watershed Projects-1971: Hearing, Ninety-Second Congress, First Session. May 20, 1971. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off, 1972. Print. Pg 39, 80.
The Grand Canyon is a one-of-a-kind geological feature that is very popular on a global basis due to its large size and colorful landscape. The Grand Canyon is located in Northern Arizona, and measures over two hundred and seventy miles in length, eighteen miles in width and about a mile in depth. The walls of the Great Canyon are a geological and historical feature as they contain layers of rocks revealing a span of the Earth’s History. The layers of rocks in the Canyon are preserved in a beautiful way, making the landscape very attractive. Research shows that the first known history of human evidence on the Great Canyon goes back to about 10,500 years ago (DiPietro, 2013, 78). Currently, the Great Canyon is considered as a National Park, and it receives about five million visitors on an annual basis. The vast beauty of the Canyon, as well as the size, is what mostly attracts tourists to visit the site. In this essay, the discussion revolves around the history of the Great Canyon.
The Grand Canyon is considered as one of the New Seven Wonders of the world today, showing that the landscape has international recognition. However, one would wonder how such a large landscape was formed and the forces behind the formation of the Grand Canyon. The formation of the Grand Canyon is among the most studied sequences of rock activity on earth. Geologists do not have a sure way in which they can state that the Grand Canyon was formed. One of the explanations is that the landscape formation was a result of erosion, primarily by water (ice) and by wind on a secondary basis. The course of the Colorado River is also believed to have played a part in the formation of the Grand Canyon. Other factors that might have contributed include continental drift, volcanism and variations in the earth’s orbit that causes variations in climate and seasons. Erosion by water seems to be the most probable reason for the formation of the Canyon.
The Grand Canyon is considered among the most identifiable and wonderful landscapes in the world. The landscape has received international recognition as one of the symbols of nature in North America. The Great Canyon has had a great influence on the American culture, art, science, environmental values, leisure and tourism. The landscape has provided a habitat for Native Americans, confounded prospectors, frustrated early Spanish explorers and induced poetry from groups of scientists. Archeological evidence dates back human inhabitation of the Great Canyon to about four thousand years ago (Abbott & Cook, 2004, 58). Evidence from ancient pottery has been dated to about four thousand years ago. However, about ten thousand five hundred years ago, there was evidence that humans passed through the Canyon but did not consider inhabitation. Paleo-hunters were present in the Great Canyon about ten thousand years ago, and they practiced their big game hunting in the area. About a thousand years ago, hunters and gatherers lived in the area.
The Puebloan people inhabited the Canyon above 500 AD and some of the activities they engaged in include cultivating corn and hunting bighorn sheep. The Puebloan people also hunted deer, rabbits, and made intricate baskets, which made the society quite popular (Price & Morrow, 2008, 47). The earliest explorers in the Great Canyon were the Spanish, who arrived in a group of about thirteen soldiers on September 1540. The group of soldiers had been dispatched to find the ‘Seven Cities of Gold.’ However, their expedition was not successful since they met an obstacle, the Great Canyon that stopped them from advancing. The Spanish did not visit the Canyon until two hundred years later, when to Spanish priests traveled along the North Rim, in the company of some soldiers. The priests accompanied by the soldiers were in search of a route from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Monterey in California.
At the beginning of the 1800s, expeditions and trappers were sent by the U.S government began exploring the Southwest, including the Great Canyon. In 1857, another U.S expedition was sent to the area to explore for any resources in the region, and find routes of a railroad to the West Coast. The group was also supposed to assess the feasibility of the navigation route upriver from the Gulf of California. In the 1870s and the 1880s, the Great Canyon yielded the discovery asbestos, Zinc, and Copper. However, mining the Canyon cost more than the sales received from the sale of the minerals mined. Therefore, majority of the miners decided to change their course and started creating railroads, new trails and lodging to create room for tourism (Schmidt, 1993, 50). The Great Canyon received Federal protection in 1893 as a Forest Reserve. The landscape would later be upgraded to the status of National Monument. The Great Canyon also received National Park Status in 1919, which was three years after the creation of the National Park Service.
In conclusion, the Great Canyon is a site worth visiting if one is interested in the Wonders of the World. The beauty of the wall of the Great Canyon is one that is not found anywhere else in the world. The beauty of the landscape explains the large number of visitors annually, five million visitors to be precise. The location of the Great Canyon is in a desert, and this is a strategic position for a National Park. The landscape has had a tremendous significance in the American culture, art, science, environmental values, leisure and tourism. The United States government has carried out different activities to protect the wonderful site (Timmons and Karlstrom, 2012, 69). It would be devastating if the Grand Canyon suffered any destruction, especially at the hands of human activities. The government should continue with their activities and prove that they are more than ready to protect the landscape.
The beautiful image is a representation of the beauty of the Great Canyon, in North Arizona.
Abbott, L., & Cook, T. (2004). Hiking the Grand Canyon's geology. Seattle, WA: Mountaineers Books.
DiPietro, J. A. (2013). Landscape evolution in the United States: An introduction to the geography, geology, and natural history. Burlington, MA: Elsevier.
Price, V. B., & Morrow, B. H. (2008). Canyon gardens: The ancient Pueblo landscapes of the American Southwest. Albuquerque, N.M: University of New Mexico Press.
Schmidt, J. (1993). Grand Canyon National Park. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Timmons, J. M., & Karlstrom, K. E. (2012). Grand Canyon geology: Two billion years of Earth's history. Boulder, Colo: Geological Society of America.
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