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1.Conversion to impervious surfaces of woodland / natural areas. Impervious surfaces and other forms of development reduce the infiltration of water into the ground. Impervious surfaces often contribute to higher storm water runoff, greater sediment yields, and increased pollutant loads, all of which can degrade water quality.
2.Stabilization of stream banks in very urban areas by concrete, cement, and riprap. Stream bank stabilization is needed in areas where an existing structure is jeopardized, where the rate of and/or the potential for erosion could threaten future planned improvements, or where the actual or potential erosion puts significant environmental features at risk.
3.Impoundments of water (lakes or bassins). This is obvious when one considers that as the watershed to lake area increases there are additional sources (and volumes) of runoff to the lake. In larger watersheds, there is also a greater opportunity for water from precipitation to contact the soil and leach minerals before discharging into the lake.
4.Power plants and industrial discharges. The transport of thermal effluents along river reaches may lead to plant-to-plant interferences by elevating condenser inlet temperatures at downstream locations, which lower thermal efficiencies and trigger regulatory-forced power curtailments.
5.Removal of the cover for riparian tree near streams. Road building may cause accelerated erosion, introduce oil and other pollutants to the stream, cut off subsurface water flow to the stream and threaten wildlife. Farming can increase erosion of stream banks if the riparian zones are cleared for more farmland.
6. Runoff from paved, hot surfaces. These result from rapid heat transfer from low‐specific heat capacity surfaces to precipitation, which can cause thermally polluted surface run‐off to enter urban streams.
7.Sewage spills, household and animal waste, yard waste disposed of in streams. Alternatively, leaking or flooding can cause completely untreated sewage to enter rivers and otherwater sources, causing them to become polluted.
8.Poorly maintained building sites, winter road sand, in stream erosion, barren soils, poor farming practices, over weeding. Poor farming is probably the most significant activity that accelerates soil erosion because of the amount of land that is farmed and how much farming practices disturb the ground
9.Diverse leakage of underground storage facilities, surface leaks, unauthorized discharges, chlorine from the runoff of pools. Polluted storm water contaminates streams, rivers and lakes. It can kill or damage plants, fish and wildlife, while degrading the quality of our water.
10. Improper application of fertilizers and manure for lawns or crops. This excess nitrogen and phosphorus can be washed from farm fields and into waterways during rain events and when snow melts, and can also leach through the soil and into groundwater over time. High levels of nitrogen and phosphorus can cause eutrophication of water bodies.
II. Activities That Promote the Health of Watershed
1. Consider using organic or slow release fertilizers instead. As organic fertilizers break down, they improve the structure of the soil and increase its ability to hold water and nutrients.
2. Recycle yard waste in a compost pile & use a mulching mower. Composting yard waste recycles nutrients back into the yard and saves landfill space. Composting reduces yard waste volume by 50 to 75 percent. Compost made with manure is questionable for use in food gardens due to newer strains of bacteria that cause food-borne illnesses.
3. Use surfaces like wood, brick or gravel for decks & walkway. It allows rain to soak in & not run off.
4. Never pour used oil or antifreeze into the storm drain or the street. It's very important that you help prevent contaminants from flowing into storm drains and never pour anything into them.
5. Avoid sewage spills, household and animal waste, yard waste disposed of in streams. Proper waste disposal is critical due to the fact that certain types of wastes can be hazardous and can contaminate the environment if not handled properly. Avoiding sewage spills, household and animal waste, yard waste disposed of in streams would reduce the risk of water and soil pollution.
6. If possible, limit the usage of cars for transportation instead walk, bike or environment friendly vehicles. Many pollutants in our waters come from car exhaust and car leaks.
7. Conserve water every day. Take shorter showers, fix leaks & turn off the water when not in use.
8. Don’t pour toxic household chemicals down the drain. It is very important that you help prevent contaminants from flowing into the drains of storms and never pour into them.
9. Use hardy plants on your yard which require little or no watering, fertilizers or pesticides. This would reduce the risk of water and soil pollution.
10. Help grow young trees, and reforest areas that have few trees, particularly near water sources. The soil can retain moisture for a long time in the event of low rainfall thus benefiting plants and animals alike. Plants display transpiration which is a way of releasing excess water into the atmosphere. This also offers a cooling effect in the surrounding environment thus reducing heat build-up. This further leads to greater retention of soil water.
III. Watershed Related Study from Research Journal Publications
Cumulative Environmental Effects of Contemporary Forest Management Activities in Headwater Basins of Western Oregon
Arne E. Skaugset, Oregon State University; Robert E. Gresswell, USGS; Judith Li, Oregon State University; Michael Adams, USGS; Kermit Cromack, Oregon State University.
Most of Pacific Northwest timber harvest comes from the forested land base minority owned by the private industrial forest sector. For a continued supply of solid wood, society is more dependent than ever on the productivity and culture of those forest lands. One potential obstacle to the continued flow of solid wood from these lands is concern with respect to the anticipated environmental effects of intensive land management. The anticipated environmental effects result from a lack of knowledge about the actual environmental effects at a watershed scale caused by contemporary forest management activities.
To fill that knowledge gap, the Hinkle Creek Paired Watershed Study was designed and initiated. The watersheds for the study at Hinkle Creek are owned by Roseburg Forest Products (RFP), which actively manages Douglas-fir 's young, harvest-regenerated stands on them.
Hinkle Creek, the landowner, a research group, and private industrial, state, and federal forest land managers have collaborated on the development of a state-of-the-art, paired watershed study. The study comprises a control watershed, Hinkle Creek's North Fork, and the South Fork, a treatment watershed.
The planned harvest schedule allows comparisons with and without fish before and after harvest, as well as between harvested and unharvested streams and for small and large streams. In these watersheds the research addressed:
· the effects of forest management on the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics and habitat quality in small streams without fish
· the influence of changes in the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics and habitat quality on amphibian and invertebrate abundance, distribution, and movement, in headwater streams with and without fish, and
· the role of movement in maintaining abundance and diversity of fish and amphibians as habitat quality changes throughout the stream network.
A tremendous amount of research on forestry's environmental effects was conducted in paired watershed studies, and a tremendous amount of knowledge was gained from that research. However, the congruence of recent technological innovations and the location of this study provide an excellent opportunity to significantly enhance the understanding of the environmental impacts of forest watershed management. The research approach will employ a new generation of sensors including passive integrated transponders (PIT tags) that enable daily and seasonal tracking of fish movement using both stationary readers and mobile antennas. Detailed and continuous measurement of the discharge, temperature and sediment load at spatially explicit locations will place the fish's movement in a physical context. Finally, recent innovations in GIS technologies allow for a description of the spatially dynamic interactions between physical and biological phenomena. These technological advances combined with the landowner's willingness to allow them to be used in a managed landscape will set a new standard for what we can learn and how we can truly better understand the environmental effects of forest management at a watershed and landscape level.
The Nature Conservacy (n.d.). Journey with Nature: Watersheds 101. Retrieved from