Watersheds and People

Objectives

Students generate a list of local land use activities and consider how these activities may affect local water quality and quantity.Students determine how land use activities in a watershed can affect water quality and quantity.

Lesson Overview

Students generate a list of local land use activities and consider how these activities may affect local water quality and quantity.

Time: 
Homework assignment or one class period
Setting: 
Classroom
Materials

None besides students' memories and imaginations

Procedure

All of us living within a particular watershed have the ability to make changes in the environment which can intentionally or inadvertently affect aquatic ecosystems, even when activities are far from any waterbody. These changes include many common activities such as the construction of homes, roads and shopping centers, and growing crops, lawns, and livestock. Inputs of nutrients, sediments, and toxic substances from these sources can seriously impair streams, ponds, and groundwater resources. Human activities can also change the pattern of water flow in a drainage network, increase the amount of water that reaches a waterbody, and allow water to get there faster without the opportunity for removal of pollutants by slow infiltration into the soil.

Ask students to brainstorm a list of all the different land use activities in their community or town. This may be done as a homework project -- for example, students could record all the different land uses they observe on their way home from school. Table 1 gives one possible scheme of land uses. After students generate their list, ask them to think about the kinds of contamination that may result from these different land use activities. Record their suggestions on the board. A list of possible ideas appears below

 

NYS Standards
MST 4- Physical setting, living environment and nature of science
ELA 3- Language for critical analysis and evaluation

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