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Ecosystem Services and Water/Food Resources

by: Carina Sauter

Ecosystem Services and Water/Food Resources Ecology 1000

Marketplace > University of Georgia > Ecology > Ecology 1000 > Ecosystem Services and Water Food Resources
Carina Sauter
GPA 3.79

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About this Document

These notes finish the discussion on water resources and briefly introduce the food resources to be discussed next class.
Introduction to Environmental Issues
Class Notes
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Carina Sauter on Tuesday August 30, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Ecology 1000 at University of Georgia taught by Connelly in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 22 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Environmental Issues in Ecology at University of Georgia.


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Date Created: 08/30/16
Ecosystem Services: Water Resources (continued) • 3 Gorges Dam o holds so much water that it changed the center of gravity – enough to change how fast the earth spun – changed how long a day was o Positives: § Produces much needed electricity § Increased the Yangtze River’s shipping capacity § Reduced the potential for floods downstream by proving water storage space • Regulated water during wet and dry seasons § Historic engineering feat and social and economic success o Negatives: § Chinese government relocated 1.2 million residents to provide space for the dam and upstream flooding § ~1,300 archaeological sites were moved or lost because the water level rose over 300 feet § Freshwater fish are adversely affected by dams due to change in the water temperature, altered flow regime, and by the turbine blades of the power plants • Ecosystems changed § Because it sits on a fault, the earthquake potential could be devastating § Target for terrorist attack § Sediment settlement instead of flowing downstream • Pollution becomes concentrated upstream • Realistic Pricing: people don’t value things they get for free (or close to free) • Conservation o New technology § Low-flow toilet § Low-flow shower heads § Low-flow faucets § Efficient washing machines § Efficient dishwashers o Behavioral change § Flush waste less frequently § Take “navy” showers § Don’t leave the water running while brushing your teeth § Don’t wash clothes unless they need to be washed § Don’t rinse dishes before using the dishwasher • Balancing our Water Budget in Georgia o Increase reserves § I.e. Lakes Altoona and Lanier § Building more reservoirs • Would increase water wars § Reduce withdrawals: just use less • Conservation • Recycling o Grey water § (water used in businesses – reusing clean water) § not clean enough to drink, but to wash cars, water lawn, etc. • Landscape architecture o Build community around water patters § (don’t plant roses in Arizona) • Goals of the Athens Water Conservation Office o Providing water conservation strategies and devices to maintain wise water use practices o Working to develop a culture of water conservation at the state and regional level • Landscape Architecture and Water Conservation o Pre-urban § 100% participation • 40% evaporation and transpiration • 10% surface runoff • 40% groundwater o Urban: less permeable surfaces § 100% participation § 25% evaporation and transpiration § 43% surface runoff (includes storm sewer runoff) § 32% groundwater • Water conservation tricks and ways to reduce nutrient pollution o Storm water that doesn’t soak into the ground can enter storm drains that flow directly to rivers and streams, or cause floods, especially in heavily build-up urban settings – anything that increases filtration can help avoid these storm water problems o Trees slow and allow infiltration of runoff o Green roofs have vegetation over a waterproof layer which can trap some water and reduce runoff § Redirected downspout § Rain barrel captures runoff from roof o Water soaks into the ground through permeable pavers o Rain gardens capture gutter and lawn runoff o Storm drains o Curb cutouts reduce street runoff by diverting it to ground where it can infiltrate • Cuyahoga River o Cleveland Ohio that caught on fire multiple times and burned because of the amount of oil and chemicals in the water o Scarcity is an issue, but reducing pollution needs to be addressed as well – sources of water pollution can be hard to pinpoint • Point vs. Nonpoint sources of pollution o Point Source: some industrial and agricultural sources discharge pollutants direly into a body of water § Sewage treatment plant overflow § Animal feedlot and waste lagoon § Industrial waste discharged into water o Nonpoint Source: a variety of sources contribute pollutants that can run off the surface of the land during rainfall and enter the water; air pollutants can fall directly with the rain § Open mines § Industrial air pollution from smoke stacks falls back to earth but is hard to link to the original source § Cropland animal pastures § Construction sites • Identifying the types and sources of pollution o Samples collected around the Chesapeake Bay from streams near agricultural sites had the highest levels of nitrogen… o Nitrogen and Phosphorous pollutants raise red flags • The Dead Zone o Watershed of the Mississippi River includes nearly one third of the land in the US § Used for agriculture, with pesticides and fertilizers o Excess nitrogen from any rivers and streams within the watershed will eventually flow to a larger body of water o I.E. the Gulf of Mexico is one area where excess nutrients have impacted the ecosystem to the point of making a “dead zone” or hypoxic area where most organisms are unable to survive – bottom organisms die, which leads to fish eating these organisms to starve o Low oxygen = hypoxic • Riparian area: plot of land next to a body of water that is affected by the water’s presence and that affect the water itself o Needs to be protected or restored by planting vegetated buffer zones that slow runoff and give rainwater time to soak into the ground o Conservation is essential for stream health § Plants store nutrients in their tissues, reducing the amount free to enter the water § Plant roots stabilize banks and prevent erosion § Ground vegetation slows runoff § Trees provide food – leaves that fall off are a great nutrient source for organisms § Shade allows the water to stay cooler, being able to hold more oxygen than warmer water • Clean Water Act o 1972 o established pollution standards and set in motion the establishment of best management practices to reduce aquatic pollution Ecology of Food • Questions: o What are some differences globally in the production of food? o How do we manage resources for sustainable food production? o What are issues associated with agricultural pest control, and what are potential solutions? • Agricultural Practices o With ~ 30,000 edible plants, 15 plant & 8 animal species provide 90% of food o 35% land used for food production § corn, potatoes, wheat, etc. o Different strategies used to produce food: § Traditional: human labor and draft animals used to produce food for the family • Shifting cultivation in tropical forests • Nomadic livestock herding • Traditional “Swidden” Agriculture o Tropical trees are cut down and burned in order to clear land for planting § Removes debris and clears land for planting § Ash is high in minerals which promotes plant growth § Relatively sustainable if you allot a certain space for burning, and wait for it to fully grow back o Industrialized: large inputs of energy (fossil fuels, fertilizers, irrigation, and pesticides) § Primarily in developed countries § Large expanses of land § Most if not all organic matter removed § Tilling exposes the soil to wind and water erosion § Lost nutrient cycling; Large quantities of chemical fertilizers must be added to maintain productivity § Monoculture is susceptible to pests and plant diseases


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