Owen's Watershed Blog Page

Owen's Science Blog: May 30th
This week I observed that when plants get more sunlight underwater, it makes them bigger and causes more plant life. This can be interpreted as a good thing, because plants add DO, or dissolved oxygen to the water well they are alive, but it is also very harmful to the water if the plant life is too large or unbalanced. This is because when plants die, they decompose and decomposing bacteria come too it. However, this bacteria uses a lot of DO as well, reducing the necessary amount needed for new plant and animal life.

Even though this process can sometimes occur in the wild, humans have made it even worse by allowing large factories to dump warm water into the rivers and lakes. This simulates the heat of the sun, causing plant life too boom and use even more DO. The DO needed in the water is no longer available after the plants decompose, and this causes death amongst plants and fish. Fish that need colder water to live are also threatened by the new unnaturally warm. water.

Another issue that decreases life in water is turbidity. If water is very muddy or has a fine material in it such as silt, it creates an opaque layer at the surface allowing less sunlight to travel into the water. This makes less plant life, disturbing the balance, and disturbing the amount of DO in the water with it.

Fecal coliform is another reason water life can be harmed. Fecal coliform comes from waste and usually has harmful microbes in it. These microbes are harmful to water dwelling life and humans, making massive impact on the environment.

Humans play a giant role in the mistreatment of water. We do this by allowing factories to pump out warm water, changing the plant life. We change the turbidity by having too many impervious surfaces, and we change microbe levels by not properly treating our waste. If we were to pay more attention to this growing problem, we could help save our world's water.

May 1st, 2017
Water Filters

Over the course of the past two weeks, We have been making water filters in groups. My group was Evan, Liam, Andrew, and I. My group found that the most ideal design was a filter consisting of sand and gravel. The water scored a one in the water clarity test, which means it was almost completely clear to the eye. However, with this cleanliness came a great amount of time needed. This filter took a time consuming 7 minutes 18 seconds, but it did clean the water really well!

Time is more important than money with filters, because it may cost a lot of money, but a fast filter will clean the water thoroughly, and yet do it in a sufficient amount of time. Another reason time is more important in this instance is this: Think about how much water you use everyday. The answer is thousands of gallons. And on top of that, it all has to be portable, meaning drinkable and usable. Because of this, it's very important that our filters are swift and can pump out lots of water continuously.

When we did the tests, we made 4 filters. We made one sand and gravel filter, one paper filter, one screen filter, and then one filter that combined them all. In the beginning, we all assumed that our sand and gravel filter would do the best, and we were right. The sand and gravel filter won by a lot of points on the water scale.

Overall, we learned that the sand and gravel filter does the best job, but at the price of a large quantity of time.

Science blog #4: Part One, Phosphorus in lakes

This week we are learning about phosphorus. Phosphorus is an element that is most commonly found in fertilizers because it has a high source of nourishing materials that can help plants grow. We have been learning about how phosphorus can get into lakes and how it can affect the environment. We have learned that since phosphorus is used on farms as fertilizer, it can be transported to lakes when it rains because of runoff. We are thinking that when phosphorus gets into a lake, it can have a positive effect until it hits a certain point, and then it will have a slowly gaining negative effect. The reason our class thinks this is because if there is lot of biodiversity, more and more plants will start to grow. This would cause some plants to not have enough resources and therefore cause an imbalance in the environment. Also, it has been proven that too much phosphorus in water can decrease dissolved oxygen, therefore having a negative effect on the water. We have also learned that 49% of phosphorus in lakes comes from farms and other agricultural places, so it would be reasonable that our lake, (Cedar Lake) has a lot of phosphorus considering the land around it, which is used mostly for agricultural purposes.

Murphree, G. (2016, November 7). Where phosphorus in lakes comes from. Addison Independent. p.23


Blog post #4 Part Two, Phosphorus Procedure

Step One: Pour 11ml of water in 4 test tubes.

Step Two: Add about 1 drop (0.05ml) of liquid fertilizer (we used Miracle Grow).

Step Three: Put four duckweed plants in each test tube.

Step Four: Count the fronds of the duckweed plants.

Step Five: Write the number of fronds in the test tube on the side of each test tube.

Step Six: Put all the test tubes near a window of light source.

Owens third science blog: Can chemistry be used to find water quality?

This week, we tried to use chemistry to find the quality of water from our lake (Cedar Lake), and our fish tank, which has been looking pretty murky lately. In this blog post, I will explain what we did and the results we found.

The first thing we did was add a substance called Iodide Azide, which turned the water murky and pulpy. We waited for the Iodide Azide to settle, and when it did, the water was clear with some pulpy substance on the bottom. Next, we added Manganese Sulfate, an orangish substance that turned the water the same color, orange. Finally, we added sodium thiosulfate.

To find the water quality in this experiment, we had to add small drops of sodium thiosulfate, and counted the drops as we went. There was a formula on the back that allowed us to find the water quality using the amount of drops.

Our results were not good. Our lake scored a 3, were the average body of water in our state, VT, should have no less than 7. That means “few types of creatures can survive in this water.” we think the reason for this is because there is an invasive plant in our lake called milfoil. Since plants requireoxygen to live, we think that the millfoil is taking up so much oxygen that is unhealthy for the lake. This is what we found during the water quality tests we did this week.


This blog post is mostly about land and water interacting. I will be talking about things I saw and noted in my journal.
Land and water interact in many ways. Here are some of the ways I found:
-When it rains, water picks up material from the ground.
-When it rains, water flows from highest to lowest elevation.
-If water is poured onto the ground, It stays for a minute then slowly sinks and disappears.
-Water can look shiny or glassy if it is polluted.
-Water is slower when it is cold.
-Water that puddles forms potholes
This is what I learned when I was watching what happened to water when it rained.
It has helped me realize there is a lot more to water than meets the eye.


Owen's First Blog Post
This year in science we have been learning the science of Monkton Pond. We have learned how pollution can harm any body of water, from the smallest stream to the largest ocean. Our main question is:”How does water quality affect the ecology of a community.” We have made a project board, which shows all the evidence we have collected so far. The project board has 5 categories that all lead up to our main question.

We have learned that Leaf blowers and mowers can eventually pollute water. We are wondering what we could do to stop the pollution of our pond while still having all the necessities that are causing it.

We have also learned that there is more than one type of pollution. The two types of pollution we have learned about are point source pollution and non point source pollution. Point source pollution is the type of pollution that you can see happen. Like when someone litters by dropping a piece of trash, you can point to the cause of the pollution. Non point source pollution is the type of pollution where you don't know who did it. We have learned that dropping just one tissue can harm the environment.

We are hoping to find a solution to this problem, which continues in the modern world, and our class is brainstorming ideas everyday.

1 comment:

  1. Also, once a body of water is polluted, it is very very difficult (and expensive!) to make it clean again. Sometimes, you can never get it as clean as it was before.