NC River Basin Scavenger Hunt with responses


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NC River Basin Scavenger Hunt with responses

  1. 1. River Basin Scavenger Hunt (Responses)1. Name 2 issues that led to public interest in rivers and river basins. - The appearance Pfiesteria, a lethal organism which killed millions of coastal water fish - A series of hurricanes brought river and developmental issues to the forefront2. Which organism killed millions of fish in coastal waters? Pfiesteria3. Land that water flows across or under on its way to a river is called a river basin.4. Where does the water go after it falls into a river basin? The water will flow on the surrounding land into a central river and out to and estuary or sea.5. What is an estuary? A semi-enclosed area where fresh water from a river meets salty water from the sea or ocean6. Describe the difference between a river basin and a watershed. - a river basin is the drainage area of a river - watershed is all the land drained by a river7. Describe the possible path water takes in an individual watershed. Water will always run to the lowest point – a stream, river, lake or ocean. It will travel across farm fields, forestland, suburban lawns and city streets, or it seeps into the soil and travels as groundwater.8. What do we call water found in the cracks and pores in sand, gravel, and rocks below the earth’s surface. Groundwater9. Can more than one watershed be found in an individual river basin? Justify your answer. A river basin may be made up of many interconnected watersheds. The French Broad Basin is made up many smaller watersheds. See the Last Pge of this document. 1
  2. 2. River Basin Scavenger Hunt (Responses)10. Do you live in a river basin? Yes everyone lives in a rive basin.11. What does water transfer as it moves downstream? Water transfers bacteria, chemicals, excess nutrients and organic matter as well as carrying and re-depositing gravel, sand, and silt.12. The quote, “the health of an aquatic ecosystem is directly related to activities on land,” refers to an aquatic ecosystem. What is an aquatic ecosystem? A possible response may be an aquatic ecosystem is the environment which is sufficient to support the lives of various organisms which live in the water. An aquatic ecosystem is an ecosystem in a body of water. Communities of organisms that are dependent on each other and on their environment live in aquatic ecosystems.13. What is the name of the largest river basin in NC? …smallest river basin in NC? Largest NC river basin – Cape Fear – having 9,164 square miles Smallest NC river basin – Savannah – having 171 square miles14. Which river basin do you live in? French Broad River Basin. Watershed -> What is an aquifer? A porous rock layer underground that is a reservoir for water16. What is an ecological address? What are the 9 components of your ecological address? Ecological address is the term which defines elements of the environment that characterize a specific locale at a certain time The nine components of an ecological address are: river basin, topography, wetlands, groundwater, biodiversity, soil, air, climate, and energy.17. Where does the water from a storm drain flow to? Water from a storm drain flows to the nearest body of water – a stream, river, lake, or creek. 2
  3. 3. River Basin Scavenger Hunt (Responses)18. What is topography? A description of the physical features of a place, or terrain – mountains, valleys, floodplains, etc.19. What is a floodplain? Is a usually dry area that becomes inundated with water when streams and rivers overflow.20. What is a wetland? Is an area where the water table is at, near or above the land surface long enough during the year to support the growth of specially adapted plants.21. How do wetlands help to regulate water flow? Help regulate water flow and act like a sponge, filtering pollutants and providing flood control22. Where do you get your drinking water? Pigeon River.23. How do contaminated soils affect your drinking water? Water may be tainted.24. What is biodiversity? The totality of genes, species and ecosystems in a region25. What does the term permeable mean? Absorbent26. What does the term impermeable mean? Water runs off readily27. What is a river, according to the section entitled “The Ecosystem Connection”? The course that water takes as it flows from the highest point in a river basin to the lowest. 3
  4. 4. River Basin Scavenger Hunt (Responses)28. What is an ecological footprint? The amount of land and water needed to support one’s lifestyle using current technology29. A large variety and large number of aquatic organisms is an indication of this state of water quality. Healthy water30. Describe the term vegetative buffer. Plants and trees surrounding a river or stream31. What is sediment? Eroded soil particles that wash or blow into rivers32. How does sediment affect the water quality? Large amount of sediment will kill tiny aquatic creatures wrecking havoc throughout the food web – from insects to fish to humans.33. Why are more humans vulnerable to flooding? - alteration of land around rivers changing the path of water - wetlands have been filled - streams have been straightened, paved and developed - accelerated urban development and land disturbance reducing the land’s ability to absorb runoff34. How has urban development reduced the land’s ability to absorb runoff? For example, a building site 30 years ago may have been outside of 100-year floodplain might be considered in the middle of the floodplain today35. Discuss the Clean Water Act of 1972. The Clean Water Act of 1972 came about as a result of humans dipping into water upstream and emptying waste downstream. There was a connection between the decline in water quality and management of wastewater. In the early 1970’s, the government became involved in the construction of facilities to treat wastewater and safeguard human health and aquatic ecosystems downstream. 4
  5. 5. River Basin Scavenger Hunt (Responses)36. What is a point source pollutant? A non-point source pollutant? Point source pollutant – discharge entering a stream at a specific, detectable point such as a pipe or outfall Non-point source pollutant – diffuse runoff from large areas of land, comes from land use activities, results from rainwater washing pollutants off the land and into streams such as pesticides and fertilizers from yards and fields, human and animal waster.37. What does excess nutrients cause to grow in water resulting in the death of masses of fish? Algal bloom is the result of excess nutrients.38. What is stormwater? Surplus water from rain and melted snow39. How can the flow of stormwater be controlled? Vegetative buffer40. When a scientist surveys the macroinvertebrates in a body of water, what is he/she studying? Animals that lack a backbone and is visible to the naked eye41. Name 4 ways that citizens are making a difference in their communities. a. Stream Watch – based on the philosophy that those in the best position to notice the signs of a stream’s distress are its neighbors – people living along the banks or using its water b. Urban Stream Renewal – includes focusing on the lost and abandoned waterways. Projects include trash cleanups, planting and natural methods of erosion control c. Land Conservation – purchasing and protecting the land, conservation easements on land that borders rivers and streams d. Environmental Education – public education is critical for protecting rivers and streams. Learn about how natural systems support humans. 5
  6. 6. River Basin Scavenger Hunt (Responses)Other Points of ValueRiparian – pertaining to the edges of streams or riversGreenway – open space or connector along a natural corridor (such as a river)used for parks and trailsVegetative buffers are to: a. protect their banks from erosion, b. reduce the impact of nonpoint source pollution by trapping, filtering and converting pollutants, and c. supply food, shelter and shade to fish and other aquatic wildlife. 6
  7. 7. River Basin Scavenger Hunt (Responses)The French Broad river basin in North Carolina is composed of three majorsub-basins, each of which individually flow northwest into Tennessee: FrenchBroad River, Pigeon River, and Nolichucky River.The French Broad River sub-basin can be divided further into three more or lessgeomorphologically distinct units.- Upper mainstem and headwater streams Major tributaries: North, West, and East Forks of French Broad River- Middle mainstem and tributaries Major tributaries: Little River, Mills River, Davidson River, Swannanoa River; Mud Creek, Cane Creek, and Hominy Creek,- Lower mainstem and tributaries Major tributaries: Sandymush Creek, Big Ivy River; Big Laurel and Spring CreeksPigeon River Major tributaries: East and West Forks Pigeon River; Jonathan, Richland, Cataloochee, and Big creeksNolichucky River Major tributaries: North and South Toe Rivers, Cane River, and Big RockCreek. The French Broad river watershed in North Carolina encompasses 2,830 sq.miles, including 4,136 stream miles in Haywood, Madison, Buncombe,Transylvania, Henderson, Yancy, Mitchell, and Avery counties, and is entirelywithin the Blue Ridge physiographic province. The headwaters are entirely withinNorth Carolina. The basin drains the north and western slopes of the BlackMountains, the highest range in the eastern United States. The upper mainstemFrench Broad River system drains the high mountains of the Blue Ridge and flowsthrough the broad, flat valley of the Asheville Basin. Within the Asheville Basin,the French Broad and tributaries are relatively low gradient and share many habitatcharacteristics with streams in the Valley and Ridge physiographic province.Consequently, a number of aquatic species more typical of the Valley and Ridgeare known from this part of the French Broad and virtually nowhere else in theBlue Ridge. Near the city of Asheville, the French Broad flows out of theAsheville Basin and descends a relatively steep, narrow gorge before enteringTennessee. The topography of the Pigeon River watershed is similar, with highgradient headwaters, a relatively flat midsection, and a steep gorge near theTennessee border. The midsection of the Nolichucky River watershed lackssubstantial flat areas and remains more high-gradient and gorge-like throughout itslength in North Carolina. 7