Lab Essay - Michael Knutson Tillotson 1 November 2010 ESRP...

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Michael Knutson Tillotson 1 November 2010 ESRP Lab 8 Water Resources Lab Essay The beginning of human civilization was marked by the settling of large groups of people who had learned to farm. Since that time, the greatest civilizations--Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Rome, just to name a few--have shared a single geographical trait: they were all settled around rivers. The logic behind this phenomena literally lies in the soil. Rivers are fed by a system of drainage pathways--both underground and on the surface--called a watershed (1). In other words, a watershed is simply an area of land that drains water to the lowest point--most commonly a river (1). Some components of a watershed include the ridgelines which direct the flow, as well as the tributaries and underground aquifers that feed the riverbed. Today, our agricultural pro- cesses still rely heavily on the groundwater provided by these watershed systems. As such, it is important that the cleanliness of this water be maintained through the elimination and prevention of pollutants. Rivers can span across large areas of land and can create or destroy many different ecosystems, depending on the quality of their upkeep. Human intervention plays a monumental role in the quality of water in rivers and their ecosystems. Unfortunately, many rivers have been degraded due to human pollution and interference. It is important that societies educate them- selves on their river systems and the areas affected by them. A great, local example of the interference people can have on water resources, is the South Fork Palouse River (SFPR) watershed. This watershed spans approximately 295 square miles, from Moscow Mountain in Idaho, to Colfax, Washington (1). It is geographically bounded by ridgelines that bisect Bald Butte to the south, and Kamiak Butte to the north (1). The South Fork Palouse River follows a course through many acres of farmland, as well as the cities of Mo- scow, ID and Pullman, WA (1). Agricultural production accounts for 82% of the use of land with- in the watershed, which has created both a lucrative wheat and lentil market, as well as many negative environmental impacts regarding the region’s surface water (1). The most widespread
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Lab Essay - Michael Knutson Tillotson 1 November 2010 ESRP...

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