Patty's Watershed Blog Page

Inquiry Procedure 

Last week we set up our small experiment. First we asked a question, how does fertilizer concentration affect the growth of duckweed? Then we made predictions and set it up, recording our procedure and materials.

My prediction is that the more fertilizer the more the duckweed will grow because duckweed grows fast and it may be like algae where fertilizer makes it grow a lot and faster. We have yet to confirm any of our predictions, but we’re gathering information.

The materials you need if you want to do this is four 28 ml test tubes, distilled water, duckweed plants, and liquid fertilizer. If you want to do this test follow these steps.

Step 1. Add 20 ml of distilled water into each 28 ml test tube.

Step 2. Add four duckweed plants into each test tube and label the number of fronds.

Step 3. Add 0.28 ml of liquid fertilizer into each test tube.

Every day count the number of fronds and mark it down to show the progress. This is only my groups version of the experiment, look at my classmates blogs to see the different variables we did.


This week we’re learning and reading things about phosphorus. Phosphorus is a chemical element found commonly in fertilizers, the human body, and is used to make several other things like fireworks. We read an article from the Addison Independent on where phosphorus in the Otter Creek watershed comes from, with some details about other lakes. 49 percent of the phosphorus is from agriculture, 17.1 percent from forest lands, 16.4 percent from stream erosion, 14.4 percent from developed lands, and 3.2 percent is from wastewater treatment facilities.

Research was done about this and the Vermont Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Implementation Plan requires a 5 percent reduction in phosphorus from forest lands in most Vermont watersheds, including Otter Creek. In the Missisquoi Bay it calls for 10 times that, due to the water quality concerns in that area.

In other sectors in the Otter Creek watershed, agricultural production areas calls for an 80 percent reduction, 47 percent reduction from fields and pastures, a 40 percent reduction in streambank erosion, and a 15 percent reduction from developed land.

This much phosphorus could be bad because too much phosphorus can cause algae overgrowth. We don’t want Otter Creek to end up like Missisquoi Bay. If you ever see any pictures of Missisquoi Bay or go there, the water is green from cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae) and is too polluted to swim in.

#Phophorus #OtterCreek #Watersheds

Oxygen Levels Test 

Last week we did an experiment to determine the oxygen level in two different water samples. Sample A was water from Cedar Lake and Sample B was water from our fish tank full of guppies. They looked similar in clarity and we used the same chemicals in each of them. First we added manganous sulfate, which created white clouding called floc in both. Second we put in iodide-azide which made Sample A slowly turn slightly chunky, pulpy orange color. With Sample B it changed colors faster, turning to a dirty yellow color with orange/white clumping on the bottom. Then we waited for the floc to settle and after a few minutes added sulfamic acid which dissolved the floc. Sample A turned a dark reddish-brown color before settling on a lighter, more clear, pulpy orange. Sample B turned rusty orange, then to a clearish light orange. Last we took a small sample of Sample A and used sodium thisulfate to make it clear, it took 17 drops, when we did the same thing with Sample B it took 14-15 drops. This means that Sample A has 3 mg/L and Sample B has 2 mg/L. This means that each body of water can only have 2 different species of fish, which isn’t very good because the Vermont ideal is 7 mg/L and the natural range is 5-12 mg/L.

Sources of Pollution
Last week we had a long weekend, during that weekend we observed how runoff flows and different pollution around us. Some of the runoff around my house flows into our pond, when the pond gets too high there's a tube that the water pours into so it can't flood. Most water would absorb into the ground but some formed puddles on our dirt driveway, which eventually soaked in or created mud puddles. I also learned that burning wood in your fireplace can be air pollution, especially when it's wet. Wet wood causes more smoke which can be hazardous to your health. If you burn wood you want to make sure it's dry, cut wood before winter comes so it's dried out and not wet/still fresh. Also dry wood bruns hotter so that's less wood wasted. Things like lawnmowers/snowblowers and weedwackers can emit exhaust and chemicals into the air, which of course is bad. There's many other everyday things that cause pollution, like leaf blowers, but I can't name them all. My classmates blogs most likely have other sources of pollution shown, you should go read them!


September/October Land Interactions
This year during science we’ve been learning and doing experiments about our big question; How does water quality affect the ecology of a community? We started by making a lake score card about our ideals for a normal lake/river, then we visited Cedar Lake and scored it. Cedar Lake has a lot of silt growing on the bottom. Another time we looked at five different cups of liquids, talking about which one a body of water should look like, and what types of land they would be in; Agricultural, industrial, commercial, or residential.

Agricultural land is farming land, used for keeping animals or tending to plants and food. The chemicals used to keep away bugs and help plants grow get carried away by runoff and pollute water, land, and kill animals.

Industrial land may easily be considered the worst. Industrial land is big factories and businesses that normally have smokestacks and ships coming to and from them. Lots of factories dump things in the water, like oil. This was a big factor in the Cuyahoga River fire that happened in 1969, the river was so polluted that it caught fire and spread over it. The smoke that comes from the smokestacks slowly dissipates and falls down, polluting the land and water.

Commercial land is usually small businesses and shops. Sometimes people drain-dump dirty water from restaurants, though it’s illegal in most states. There’s occasionally litter around, such as plastic which can be terrible for the environment.

Residential land is homes and where people live, like a neighborhood. People case pollution in these parts from not picking up after parties, washing cars with soap that runs off into lakes, and even leaf blowers can cause pollution.

Just this week we looked more into human uses that affect water negatively. We looked at two pictures, one residential and the other commercial, and we identified human uses that can be bad for land and water health. We then sorted those uses into two categories; Point Source and Non-Point Source pollution.

Point Source pollution is when you see pollution and you can point to someone/ something saying ‘that’s what’s causing this pollution’. When you see oil leaking from a car that’s Point Source because you can see that the car is the source of the oil.

Non-Point Source pollution is the presence of pollution, but you can’t see what caused it. Like when you see litter sitting on the sidewalk, but you can’t tell who dropped it there, that’s Non-Point Source pollution.

This is just skimming what we’ve learned so far in the past month. Our class blog posts go further into detail about our experiments and what else we’ve learned.

#Patty #Land and Water Interactions #Point Source #Non-Point Source #Pollution #HumanUses #LandTypes #CedarLake

1 comment:

  1. Sounds pretty cool. I've been wondering if erosion on a trail in the woods is considered point source. Even though some would say "it's just dirt, so it's not really pollution", soil washing into streams, ponds and lakes can be a real problem.

    So if trail is eroding, is that point source even if it may be happening over a wide spread area, or is it non-point source?

    We did a bunch of work on our hiking trails a Little Hogback Community Forest in Monkton to help stop erosion. IT seems to be protecting the trail from damage, as well as helping protect water quality.