Charles River Ecosystem


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Charles River Ecosystem

  1. 1. Charles River Ecosystem Mark Thompson
  2. 2. Table Of Contents <ul><li>History </li></ul><ul><li>Pollution and Industry </li></ul><ul><li>River Features </li></ul><ul><li>Flora and Fauna </li></ul><ul><li>Updates on Condition of the Charles </li></ul>
  3. 3. Satellite Image of the Charles
  4. 4. History <ul><li>Native Americans lived in harmony with the Charles. The river was used for fishing, transportation and raising crops on the flood plain </li></ul><ul><li>Colonists named the river “ Charles “ after Prince Charles </li></ul><ul><li>The Charles was diverted in 1639 to power mills as the first industrial canal in North America was completed </li></ul>
  5. 5. Filling the Tidal Marshes <ul><li>Factories and tanneries began to use the Charles as a dumping ground </li></ul><ul><li>The marshes at the mouth of the Charles were filled to add land to Boston in the 1800’s. A dam was built forming a freshwater river basin instead of a tidal estuary. </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Charles and Industry <ul><li>The first factory in America was built on the Charles in Waltham, Massachusetts in 1814 </li></ul><ul><li>In 1875 a government report listed 43 mills along a 9.5 mile stretch from the tidal estuary in Watertown to Boston. This area became one of the most industrialized areas in America </li></ul><ul><li>By 1900 twenty dams (four with fish ladders) were constructed for hydropower and flood control </li></ul>
  7. 7. Pollution <ul><li>Effluent waste from factories and raw sewerage from cities and towns damaged the ecosystem </li></ul><ul><li>Industry today is less common, but sewerage problems persist today due to storm runoff and illegal or damaged connections </li></ul><ul><li>Fertilizer runoff leaches into the Charles from suburban lawns and causes nutrient loading and lack of oxygen particularly in the summer months </li></ul>
  8. 8. Features <ul><li>Echo Lake in Hopkinton, Ma. is the source for the Charles 26 miles west of the mouth in Boston </li></ul><ul><li>The river meanders for 80 miles fed by 17 streams and several aquifers </li></ul><ul><li>The watershed contains 33 lakes and ponds which are mostly man-made </li></ul><ul><li>The drainage area is 308 square miles with a 350 foot drop from source to mouth. Although a small river it is the longest in Massachusetts </li></ul>
  9. 9. River Flow <ul><li>The upper Charles flows in shaded pools and riffles through deciduous forests and groves of evergreens such as pine and hemlock </li></ul><ul><li>There are several meadow areas where the flow slows to a “snake like” marsh through tall grass, willows and cat nine tails. The slow flow rate of 368 cubic feet/second attracts certain species of plants and organisms not found in fast moving water. </li></ul><ul><li>The color of the water is brown due to the “seepage” through the wetlands. High concentrations of plants and algae use a lot of dissolved oxygen which can affect sensitive invertebrates and result in fish kills </li></ul><ul><li>The Army Corp of Engineers has protected 8000 acres of wetlands </li></ul>
  10. 10. Common Bird Species <ul><li>Mallard Ducks </li></ul><ul><li>Great Blue Heron </li></ul><ul><li>Canadian Geese </li></ul><ul><li>Osprey </li></ul><ul><li>Sea Gulls </li></ul><ul><li>Numerous nesting birds </li></ul>
  11. 11. Key Species of Fish <ul><li>Carp </li></ul><ul><li>Catfish </li></ul><ul><li>Perch </li></ul><ul><li>Pickerel </li></ul><ul><li>Large and Smallmouth Bass </li></ul><ul><li>Sunfish </li></ul><ul><li>Pike </li></ul><ul><li>Trout (stocked) </li></ul><ul><li>Shad and Herring (migratory) </li></ul>
  12. 12. Animals <ul><li>Deer </li></ul><ul><li>Muskrat </li></ul><ul><li>Snapping Turtle </li></ul><ul><li>Coyotes </li></ul><ul><li>Raccoon </li></ul><ul><li>Beaver </li></ul><ul><li>Fox </li></ul><ul><li>Voles, Rats </li></ul><ul><li>Frogs </li></ul><ul><li>Invertebrates </li></ul>
  13. 13. Common Insects <ul><li>Damselflies and Dragonflies </li></ul><ul><li>Mayflies </li></ul><ul><li>Caddis </li></ul><ul><li>Stone Fly </li></ul><ul><li>Midges </li></ul><ul><li>Mosquitoes </li></ul>
  14. 14. Common Plants <ul><li>Duckweed </li></ul><ul><li>Fox Tail </li></ul><ul><li>Lilly Pads </li></ul><ul><li>Cat tails </li></ul><ul><li>Willows </li></ul><ul><li>Alders </li></ul><ul><li>Purple loose strife </li></ul>
  15. 15. Feeding Levels In An Aquatic Food Web <ul><li>Key: 1)algae 2) zooplankton 3) bacteria 4) water strider 5) largemouth bass 6) mosquito larva 7) damselfly naiad 8) bluegill 9) tadpole 10) predaceous diving beetle 11) giant water bug 12) crayfish 13) caddisfly larva 14) water flea 15) cyclops 16) rotifer </li></ul>
  16. 17. Geology and Flow Diagram <ul><li>Click for map </li></ul>
  17. 18. Geological History <ul><li>Glacial activity shaped the Charles 11,000 years ago. </li></ul><ul><li>Glacial debris carved the meandering shape out of bedrock as it moved around ice and rock towards the sea </li></ul>
  18. 19. Role of MWRA+CRWA <ul><li>The Massachusetts Water Resource Authority monitors water clarity and bacteria in the Charles </li></ul><ul><li>The Charles River Watershed Association was formed in 1965 to clean and protect the river </li></ul>
  19. 20. Pollution and Water Quality <ul><li>The Charles received a grade of B plus from the EPA in 2006, a significant improvement from a D in 1995 </li></ul><ul><li>Swimming is allowed in some stretches but there are still toxic sediments and concerns about high bacteria counts after heavy rain </li></ul><ul><li>Algae blooms are still an occasional problem </li></ul><ul><li>Runoff from urban activity can affect PH which in turn affects aquatic organisms </li></ul>
  20. 21. Challenges <ul><li>Invasive species such as Purple loose-strife are crowding native plants. </li></ul><ul><li>Lowering of flow rates due to development and pressure on aquifers </li></ul>
  21. 22. Recreation <ul><li>Despite the pollution, diverted flow and dams, the Charles River is a productive ecosystem and one of the most heavily used recreation areas in the United States </li></ul>
  22. 23. Possible Charles River Outdoor Lessons and Visitations <ul><li>Water sampling/testing for PH, phosphates, dissolved oxygen </li></ul><ul><li>Journals of Aquatic Plants and Animals with formal observations </li></ul><ul><li>Collecting and identifying invertebrates </li></ul>
  23. 24. Work Cited <ul><li>http:// </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Pictures and Diagrams: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>