Angelita's Watershed Blog Page

May 31, 2017
My class has been learning about the causes of water pollution and what can make the water unhealthy. We have also been taught how to identify unhealthy water like the smell, the turbidity, what lives in the water and other sources that can tell us if the water is unhealthy. Here are four big variables that play a huge part in healthy water.

Dissolved oxygen is a huge variable of water. The oxygen affects the plant life, and the organisms that live their. Plants can also affect the oxygen. If the plant growth increased in a body of water, it would also increase the dissolved oxygen (DO). But this can also be a bad thing, if the plants increase to much the plants will die. When a plant dies, it will absorb the oxygen around it, but because a lot of plants are dying at once, it's using all the needed oxygen.

Temperature is also a variable for healthy water. The temperature plays a bigger part for the organisms than for the plants. Some organisms (fish) are meant for colder water, and some are meant for warmer water. If a cold body of water were to heat up, then the organisms living there would either have to move or would eventually die. The warmer fish would then take over that body of water. The high increase or decrease of temperature in a body of water that is not meant for that kind of temperature is called thermal pollution (caused by humans). In order for scientist to keep track of thermal pollution, they will measure the temperature of the water by measuring it at the source and then measuring somewhere else in the same body of water. If their is a dramatic change in temperature, then their is a problem.

There is also turbidity. Turbidity can be a cause of temperature increase because the particles suspended in the water absorb the sun's rays causing the heat of the water to rise. Turbidity can be caused by soil erosion, boat traffic, runoff, and any sort of bottom disturbances. It is important to measure the turbidity of water because less sunlight will reach the organisms in the water, causing the organisms to die.

The last important variable is fecal coliform. Fecal coliform is a bacteria found in feces that are from warm blooded animals (plus humans). Sometimes there is too much of this bacteria, making it possible for any harmful microbes to be present. These microbes can make anyone who swims in it sick. They can enter through the nose, a cut, ears, and the mouth. Fecal coliform can end up in a body of water by dumping untreated sewage onto the water. Runoff can be another cause of fecal coliform.

Humans play a big role for all of the problems of water pollution. We can cause turbidity by using our boats and with our boats we can pollute the water if there is something on the boat that is not healthy for that body of water. We dump our sewage in the water without caring if it will affect us or not. The turbidity we cause can alter the temperature of a body of water, killing the fish that live there. But humans can also help with these problems if we just try.
Filters

I think the experience was fun and we worked as a team when we were doing the design. We were always on topic and were listening to each others ideas and opinions. We were quick with what we had to do and we were always taking notes. Our experiment went almost with our hypothesis, but was either a little too dirty, or cleaner that we expected.

The ideal filter design was the combo. It had cheesecloth on the very top, sand and gravel in the middle, and 5 paper filters on the bottom. The water came out a little bit clearer than everything else and had almost no particles. The cheesecloth was used to get the big particles and the sand and gravel was used to get the tiny particles. The paper filter was used to get what the sand and gravel missed, but it can tear easily. With this combo, you will most likely get all the big particles and most of the small particles, including oils.

Time is more important than money because without time we cannot manage life and cannot keep track of a schedule or be organized. If people had more time, we would get to experience more things and explore the world. If people had more money, they wouldn't exactly have the time to use that money. With more time, you can get more money.


Our prediction was that the paper filter would work the best. Instead, the sand and gravel was the best (not including combo). Even though their was a little bit of sand in the sand and gravel, the paper filter almost ripped which would have dumped all of the particles into the almost clean water. We thought that a lot of sand would be carried along with the water, but not that much was carried through. The cheesecloth only caught the mulch, but didn’t get any of the small particles, which we predicted.


How Fertilizer Affects Duckweed
December 16, 2016

For our science experiment we tested how fertilizer concentration affects the growth of duckweed. To answer this question we set up an experiment that involved a lot of duckweed, fertilizer, measurement tools, and water. Each group had a different amount, my group was the 2% fertilizer concentration.

Step 1- Grab 4 clean test tubes.

Step 2- Put 20 mL of distilled water in each test tube.

Step 3- Place duckweed in the tubes and double check to see if you have 7-20 fronds in each tube.

Step 4- Place 0.50 of concentration fertilizer, use eye drops if necessary.

Step 5- Place the test tubes where they won’t spill and where the duckweed will get plenty of sunlight.

Step 6- Check to see how many fronds there are everyday for 5+ days.

My prediction for this experiment is that the group with more fertilizer might have healthier plants, but they might not because phosphorus dissolves oxygen in water, and too much phosphorus can kill plants.

Phosphorus
December 16, 2016

Phosphorus has good and bad qualities. The good qualities of phosphorus is the fact that plants benefit from phosphorus in fertilizer, which give plants a lot of nutrients. Nutrients helps the plants grow quicker and helps them to have a stronger root system.

A plant that doesn't have enough phosphorus has a weakened root system, stunted growth, and a dark green color.

The bad part about phosphorus is that it dissolves oxygen in the water, and too much phosphorus can make aquatic plant life harder and less animals would be able to survive. Phosphorus sources vary from watershed to watershed depending on the environment around it. According to the Addison Independent, 49% of phosphorus comes from agriculture, 17.1% from forest lands, 16.4% from stream erosion, 14.4% from developed land like parking lots and roof, and 3.2% come from wastewater. From this information, we can estimate that about 60 to 65% of phosphorus comes from us humans. That is a sign that we need to work harder on reducing the pollution that we put into land and water
Finding Oxygen
November 21, 2016

This week in science, we did an experiment on how we find out the amount of oxygen in a small sample of Cedar lake and a how much oxygen is in a sample of the fish tank water in our class. To find out how much oxygen was in these two samples we used four different chemicals, manganous sulfate, iodide-azide, sulfamic acid, and sodium thisulfate.

The first chemical we used was iodide-azide, when we added this chemical to the Cedar lake sample it became cloudy and little particles were dancing around in the water. When we added it to the fish tank water we did see particles, but it sunk to the bottom of the bottle.

Our next step was to add manganous sulfate, when we did this, both of the samples turned a shade of orange but the sample of the fish tank turned a lighter shade of orange than the Cedar sample. We also saw with the manganous sulfate, the particles in the water started to look like pulp from an orange. This did not happen with the fish tank sample.

Our third step was to add sulfamic acid to the samples which dissolved all of the pulp and particles in the water and helped us see through the water, but the water was still orange. To make the water perfectly clear again we took a small sample of the small samples and put them into smaller vials. We took a little bit of sodium thisulfate and counted how many drops it took to turn the two samples into clear water. It took us 16 drops of sodium thisulfate to turn the water clear for the Cedar lake water sample and 14 drops for the sample of the fish tank water. We found out in the end that Cedar water had 3 mg/L of oxygen and 2 mg/L for the fish tank. That means that both of our samples were not very healthy, the average for a healthy lake would be 7-12. We talked about what kind of fish can live in these kinds of environments. Let me tell you, not that many can. I had a amazing time doing this experiment and hope to do you just like it again.

10/14/16

Watershed/Land uses Adventure
In our class, we have been learning about how people affect water and the land around it. Our big question is how does water quality affect the ecology of a community. To answer that, we have broken down our big question into smaller questions that we can answer. Our smaller question so far has been how do land and water interact. It hasn’t always just been about water and land, it also has something to do with human use to.

For our first science project, we went down to Cedar lake with a scorecard on what we thought about how clean the water was. From what we thought of the lake, it had too much milfoil (possibly from boats bringing it from other dirtier lakes). For more detail on how it felt like to be in the water, my teacher (Ms. La Riviere/La Gagner) had to collect a pencil that someone had dropped into the water. Ms.Gagner described it as very slimy and soupy from all the silt in the water. She sunk all the way to her ankles in the silt soup. Having no desire to stand in the water ourselves and being done with our scorecard, we headed back to the cozy classroom of room 110. Thankfully, we left with an idea of what a clean lake/river should look like and what could be better about Cedar lake.

After our trip to Cedar lake, we had an understanding of what a dirty lake looked like with no care from humans. The next thing we would be learning about was what industrial/commercial, agricultural, and residential uses could do to the water around it. For our next big project, we had to build two models (in our binder groups with whichever one we had) what it looked like when either one was around a lake/river. We had to do a best case scenario and a worst case scenario. My group was in charge of industrial/commercial. We had to retrieve some of our materials from outside. I believe that everyone did a good job was very clear compared to the worst case scenarios which were full of dirt.

One of our newer lessons on pollution was non-point source and point source pollution. Non-point source coming from. Like if you find fertilizer in a lake, you don’t know where the source of the pollution is. Point source pollution is the complete opposite, that is when you know exactly where it is coming from.

I was very excited when we started this lesson, it was very fun building models (something I like to do) and i am sure we have more fun activities coming our way.

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