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Watersheds: A Practical Handbook for Healthy Water
Watersheds: A Practical Handbook for Healthy Water

* Book Type:


Publisher: Firefly Books

Author Statement: Clive Dobson and Gregor Gilpin Beck ; illustrations by Clive Dobson
Audience: Trade
Age range lower: 12
Age range upper: 99
Specs: more than 100 full-color illustrations, diagrams throughout, glossary, bibliography, index
Pages: 160
Trim Size: 8" x 10"
Language code 1: eng
Publication Date: 19990601
Price: Select Below

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Watersheds: A Practical Handbook for Healthy Water

Water is our most vital resource. Yet few understand even the basics of watershed ecology

Watersheds: A Practical Handbook for Healthy Water provides a fascinating overview of the fundamentals of ecology from the simple concept of a watershed to the biological intricacies of a wetland ecosystem and its implications on the environment.

More than 100 illustrations, especially done for this book, help explain the numerous environmental issues and the intricate web of life that connect each of us to all other life on the planet through out involvement in the watershed cycle.

Watersheds includes information on:

  • water and nutrient cycles
  • bioregions and aquatic habitats
  • exotic species invasions
    - water and air pollution
  • ecological restoration
  • habitat loss

Special "How Can I Help?" sections throughout the book provide practical and meaningful ways in which individuals can make a difference to the health of watersheds by reducing water and air pollution, preserving native forests, and helping restore the health of streams and rivers.

Bio:

Clive Dobson is a multi-disciplined Toronto-based artist whose range of work reflects his concern for the rapidly changing North American landscape.

Gregor Gilpin Beck is a research biologist and writer specializing in ecology, environmental education and conservation. He teaches college and university courses in water pollution, biology and ecology in Toronto.

Preface:

Introduction

Impressions of nature spring to mind as we take a quiet morning walk during the early days of March. Here in the Northeast, there is still plenty of snow amid the maple, beech, and cedar trees. The spring thaw has just begun, the air is heavy with fog, and while the winter has been easy, there is enough snow left in the woods to challenge a tall pair of boots.

It is a magical time of year. In this wintry region, warm spring days appear hopelessly distant and elusive. But beneath the snow and in the rising sap of trees, the signs of reawakening and rebirth are singing loud and clear. Everywhere we look, water is flowing again!

The forest is still carpeted in deep snow, but here and there, streams are playing hide and seek. Irresistibly, we are drawn to these places where short-lived creeks appear and disappear beneath the snow. Within a month, though, these surface waterways will be gone.

Without a conscious thought, and with childlike fascination, we follow the course downstream. The first hint is a gentle depression in the snow, then a broad sheet of ice, and finally, much farther along, the first bit of open water. It's just a trickling flow - certainly no Mississippi or Fraser River here, but even those mighty rivers have modest origins. In places, the water meanders unhurried through the thawing earth. Elsewhere, there are narrow and clearly formed rivulets - perfect little streams, flowing fast and wild over gravel and sand.

We follow this elusive stream as best we can, but ultimately it seems to disappear without a trace under the snow. Perhaps it continues to flow unseen, carving out a little gorge between the snow and frozen soil. Or perhaps its course takes it on a secret underground route toward a frozen lake. Whatever its actual path might be, we know that these particular waters, and the various pollutants and nutrients that tag along, will eventually enter rivers and lakes downstream, and finally make their way to the sea,

No matter where we live, we are all part of an incredible watershed story, and we are all part of nature. Water is essential to life on Earth, and it is constantly on the move. Maybe this is part of our fascination with that meltwater stream, and part of our fascination with every other stream and lake and ocean. Sooner or later, we all stare into a river and wonder where it has been, and where it is heading.

When probing the mysteries of a watershed, one can detect many things, both wondrous and worrisome. It is through such observation that we embark on a voyage of discovery and, at the same time, gain understanding and compassion. And because water is a lifeline for us all, it is the natural focus for a book like this one, which serves as an introduction to ecology and environmental issues.

In this book, we are addressing three main goals. First, we hope to promote a better understanding of the fundamentals of ecology. Because water is vital to life, we pay particular attention to water-related issues, from the simple concept of a watershed to the biological intricacies of a wetland ecosystem. (A glossary of technical terms used in the text appears on page I46.) With this ecological context in place, we aim secondly to examine and explain the numerous environmental issues affecting the health of natural ecosystems in North America. Finally, we hope that readers will become active in furthering the goals of conservation and helping to protect and restore the environment. We have included "How Can I Help?" sections throughout Part it to illustrate simple things that individuals can do to support the environment.

Gregor Gilpin Beck and Clive Dobson

TOC:

Introduction

Part 1: Ecology and the Watershed Concept

CHAPTER 1 - WHAT IS A WATERSHED?

      A Typical Watershed
    Magnification of Environmental Problems
    North American Bioregions and Their Watersheds

      Eastern Deciduous and Mixed Forest Bioregion
      Boreal Forest and Tundra Bioregion
      Grassland Bioregion
      West Coast Rainforest Bioregion
      Desert Bioregion

CHAPTER 2 - How WATERSHEDS WORK: WATER AND NUTRIENT CYCLES

    The Water Cycle
      Aquifers and Groundwater
    The Carbon Cycle
    The Nitrogen Cycle
    The Sulfur Cycle
    The Phosphorus Cycle

CHAPTER 3 - FROM HEADWATERS TO OUTFLOWS: PARTS OF A WATERSHED

    Wetlands
      Marshes
      Bogs
      Fens
      Swamps
    The Flowing Waters of Streams and Rivers
    The Still Waters of Ponds and Lakes

      Lake Ecology
    Estuaries: Where Rivers Meet the Sea
      Rocky Estuaries
      Saltwater Marshes
      Eel Grass Beds

CHAPTER 4 - NATURAL CHANGES WITHIN WATERSHEDS

    Beaver Ponds and Meadows
    Natural Succession of Plant Communities
    Floods
    Eutrophication of Ponds and Small Lakes

PART II: Environmental Issues, Implications, and Solutions

CHAPTER 5 AIR POLLUTION

    Ozone
      Good Ozone:The Ozone Layer
      Bad Ozone: Problems at Ground Level
    The Greenhouse Effect
    Acid Rain
      Acid Shock in Meltwater Pools
      Dead Lakes
      Forest Decline
      Effects of Soils and Winds
    How Can I Help?: Air Pollution

CHAPTER 6 - WATER POLLUTION

      Bioconcentration and the Effects of Contaminants
      Biomagnification
    Industrial Sources of Water Pollution
        Oil Spillage
        Industry
        Thermal Pollution
        Radioactive Wastes
      Urban Sources of Water Pollution
        The Moral of Summer Thunderstorms
        Sewage Treatment and Water Filtration
        Alternative Sewage Treatment
      Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution: Too Much of a Good Thing?
      Agricultural and Rural Sources of Water Pollution
      How Can I Help?:Water Pollution
      How Can I Help?: Environmentally Friendly Cleaners

CHAPTER 7 THE IMPACT OF EXOTIC SPECIES: HIDDEN INVADERS

    Deceptive Beauty: Purple Loosestrife
    Sea Lampreys in the Great Lakes
    Norway Maples and the Native Forest
    How Can I Help?: Exotic Species

CHAPTER 8 HABITAT LOSS AND DEGRADATION

    Meddling With the Flow of Water: Dams and 0ther Intrusions
      Dams
      Forestry Issues
        Logging Practices
        Additional Forestry Problems
        Alternative Logging Practices
      How Can I Help?: Saving the Forests
      Agricultural and Rural Issues
        Prairie Sloughs
        Farming the Bottom Lands
      How Can I Help?: Habitat on the Working Farm
      Urban and Suburban Issues
        Urban Rivers
    Problems with Fragmented Habitats: Landscape Ecology
      The Edge Effect
      Wildlife Corridors

CHAPTER 9 ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION: RIGHTING ENVIRONMENTAL WRONGS

    Restoring Habitats Close to Home
      The Multiple Benefits of Native Plants
      How Can I Help?: Restoring Backyards
      How Can I Help?: Stream and River Restoration

      Assessing Your Local Stream: How Clean is the water?
        Biological indicators of Water Quality
        Bioindicator Species for Fast-Flowing Streams

CONCLUSION

APPENDICES

  1. The Five Kingdoms of Living Things
  2. Food Chains, FoodWebs, and Ecological Pyramids
  3. Common Aquatic Invertebrates of Flowing and Still Waters
  4. Glossary
  5. Selected Bibliography

INDEX

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