Crystal Springs Preserve ~privately funded 525 acre nature preserve dedicated to environmental education and “empowering students to make environmentally conscious decisions” ~ during the school year about 100 students a day are on-sight, completely free of charge ~ laboratory with computers, basic equipment, reptiles and native fish species ~butterfly garden ~ Highlight is the 40 million gallon per day spring Coolest Website Ever
Karen, Jessica, Sonya Mariela and Me (and Spike) CSP Staff
<ul><li>Our Research Project- a “state of the region” report commenting on the health of the Hillsborough River from “source to sea” </li></ul><ul><li>Water quality testing from variety of sights </li></ul><ul><li>Observations about wildlife and vegetation </li></ul><ul><li>Introduction into regional issues regarding the river, such as current development along the river </li></ul>
What we did….. <ul><li>Snorkeling, scuba diving, </li></ul><ul><li>canoeing </li></ul>
<ul><li>Spent a day at the beach (Fort Desoto) </li></ul>
<ul><li>Spent a day at the Zoo with Mr. Thomas </li></ul>
<ul><li>Spent a day with: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>~an environmental activist </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>~a nature photographer (http:// www.jasonhahn.com /) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>~an environmental engineer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>~Alligator Bob </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>~Flatwoods Park Rangers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>~3 Days at Nature’s classroom </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Also took Florida Master Naturalist Class and read the newspaper every day </li></ul><ul><li>All of these were intended to give us insight into regional issues regarding the river from local perspectives </li></ul>
Water Quality Testing We analyzed water quality, took soil samples, and recorded observations on plant and animal species present at over 20 different sites along the river
<ul><li>Results Page </li></ul>The Report and Presentation
Results <ul><li>pH </li></ul><ul><li>The pH of the water was consistently neutral along the river corridor. The readings varied only occasionally between 6.5 and 8, but for the most part maintained a standard neutral of 7. The most deviant reading was an 8, which was obtained at Plant Park near the mouth of the river. This is considered to be the most polluted section of the river, since it is in the heart of downtown Tampa. However, 8 is still very close to the neutral 7 and is not considered cause for concern. </li></ul><ul><li>Phosphate </li></ul><ul><li>Phosphate levels were very low at all of the water quality test sites. It was consistently less than 1 ppm, with the exception of four sites, all of which were in the “city” sub-region of the corridor. At these four sites, the phosphate was 1 ppm. Phosphate generally indicates the use of fertilizer in the area, which then drains into the river. The sites that tested higher for phosphates were all landscaped parks that were heavily covered with non-native grasses. Although the readings were higher, indicating some amount of phosphate pollution, 1 ppm still does not indicate necessarily unhealthy water. </li></ul><ul><li>Nitrate </li></ul><ul><li>Nitrate, a common indicator of pollution, was also found to be very low throughout the study region. The only locations where more than 1 ppm of nitrate was found were within Crystal Springs Preserve. Many nitrates seep into the groundwater and aquifer and come up through the springs, but by the time they flow downriver it appears that they are diluted enough to not be detected by our chemical test. </li></ul>
Dissolved Oxygen The dissolved oxygen readings presented the most varied results of all of the water quality tests that were performed. Dissolved oxygen indicates the amount of life present in the water. Living organisms need oxygen, so high levels of DO are a good sign of life. DO gets integrated into the water when the water moves quickly and flows over rocks and other obstacles. It can also be lowered when too many nutrients and pollutants are present in the water. The DO out of the spring at the spring run at CSP and immediately downstream was lowest of all our readings. The water was very recently released from the aquifer and had little chance to receive oxygen by moving and integrating air within it. Beginning in the spring run, the DO consistently rises through the middle two sub-regions, all the way from CSP to Morris Bridge Park.
Dissolved Oxygen Continued <ul><li>This upward trend is indicative of the fact that after leaving the spring, the river incorporates more oxygen into its waters as it moves downstream. It is able to do so because these sections of the river are well maintained and are kept natural for the most part. Although they have some problems such as exotic species and overuse by the public for recreation, these sections don’t suffer from over development and maintain a healthy biodiversity. </li></ul>
And continued <ul><li>General Trend for the whole river: </li></ul>At first the DO level falls slightly as the spring water, which has recently been released from the aquifer, is added to the river. Then the DO rises in the middle section as discussed above. The DO begins to fall in the last section of the river. This section begins to wind through Tampa and has water extracted from it for public use. It receives input from a lot of storm water drains and is under some stress from development and overuse.
Issues Discussed <ul><li>Discussed issues such as rapid growth of Pasco County, Tampa’s Freshwater Supplies, Land Acquisition Programs, Wetland Mitigation and Education </li></ul>
Conclusions <ul><li>Overall our chemical analysis showed the current health of the river to be very good. The upper segments of the river seemed to be managed better as far as development around the river, vegetation and wildlife are concerned. In the lower part of the river we found a lot more development right along the river, and seawalls on a lot of it. We also found a lot more trash in the river in the lower section and a lot less wildlife. However, the chemical analysis of the river still indicated overall decent quality. The area is experiencing rapid growth and development that could potentially degrade the river’s water quality, however, the region has a lot of things going for them, including a very aware public, good education programs about water quality and programs such as ELAMP. </li></ul>