SCI 275 Final Project Mitigation Strategies and Solutions Michelle A. Freeman Axia College of University of Phoenix Water Resources and Ocean Sustainability: The Dead Zone The earth’s water resources are inexhaustible. Or at least a majority of the global population believes the ocean will always produce food, provide a living for a portion of the population, and will remain a pristine getaway for vacationers. However, dead zones, a major threat to the health of all bodies of water in the world, are a problem that the populations of the world must face.
Entire aquatic ecosystems and habitats are threatened by this growing problem. While global warming is now a possible suspect in causing dead zones, water run-off flowing down river from farms using nitrogen rich fertilizers are causing dead zones in global water resources. What are Dead Zones? Journalist Cheryl Lyn Dybus, a specialist in marine sciences simply defines dead zones as, “coastal waters too low in oxygen to sustain life” (Dybus, 2005).
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Stanford University researchers in a 2005 study state that when water drains into waterways from nitrogen enriched fertilizer treated farmland either during heavy rains or flooding, entering into larger bodies of water, “sudden explosions of marine algae are triggered, capable of disrupting ocean ecosystems and producing dead zones” (Environment, 2005). Problem Factors: Living and Non-living Nature and the ocean naturally produce nutrients from the bottom of the ocean to the surface. This regular cycle causes the production of algae blooms or phytoplankton, food for other aquatic life.
Through the introduction of nitrogen, phosphorous, and emissions released from human use of fossil fuels into the planet’s water systems, a toxic overproduction of phytoplankton is produced, depleting life-giving oxygen from the water. This lack of oxygen, or hypoxia, causes larger organisms to die. These areas then become “dead zones” (Environment, 2005). Human Impacts: Positive or Negative Dead zones are a growing cause for global concern. Currently there are 405 identifiable dead zones along coastlines around the world.
According to Scientific American writer Barbara Juncosa, scientists now view current changes caused by global warming is yet another cause of dead zones, but the proximity of these particular dead zones to coastlines, in some cases less than a “hit home-run” from the shore, has, “startled researcher” (Juncosa, 2008). The identifiable negative human impacts caused by these, “coastal wastelands” are the loss of biodiversity through the certain death of oxygen-deprived fish and other aquatic life and the threat to the world-wide commercial fishing industry. Current Sustainability Strategies and Solutions
The call to global action as been sounded with several action plans now in place to address dead zones. The Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay contain two of the largest dead zones in the world (Dybas, 2005). The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Action Plan for Reducing, Mitigating, and Controlling Hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of Mexico according to Dybas, “calls for the reduction of the Gulf’s dead zone by limiting discharges of nitrogen and other nutrients to the gulf” (Dybas, 2005). The toxic fertilizer run-off into the gulf is generated from 31 states that drain into the Mississippi River.
While this action plan is well-intentioned; however, the goal of accomplishment set for 2015 is unrealistic for magnitude and breath of states and issues to be addressed. The second dead zone action plan to be critiqued is the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement (C2K) (Chesapeake Bay Foundation, 2003). This agreement signed by Maryland, Washington D. C. and Virginia has set 2010 is the targeted year for the bay’s, “water quality to be restored, to preserve 20% of the region’s land and to provide environmental education to all students in the watershed (Chesapeake Bay Foundation, 2003).
According to the CBF, “strategies to actually achieve pollution reductions have yet to be developed. ” While C2K is a much-needed and noble action plan, with strategies and a viable time-line in place C2K will not accomplish the set goal of 2010. Quick action will be needed, and in the meantime, the Bay’s dead zone continues to grow. A Management and Sustainable Plan to Address Chesapeake Bay Dead Zones Appendix F outlines this author’s management and sustainment plan to address the Chesapeake Bay’s dead zones. This plan includes: education, information, and advocacy.
Developing a community voice gets people involved in the saving of the Chesapeake Bay. The first step is education. People young and old should know about the dead zones in global water resources, specifically in the Chesapeake Bay. Information is the second step. Search local newspapers and the internet for news showcasing ocean sustainability and dead zone issues. Find victories in dead zone eradication and water resource restoration. Third is advocacy; get involved. Move local, state and federal representatives to action. Spearhead moves toward legislation; involvement in Saving the Bay.
A Management and Sustainable Plan to Address Chesapeake Bay Dead Zones Appendix F |Action Items |Action Steps |Timeline | |(in the correct order) | | | |Research the Chesapeake Bay’s dead |Review Chesapeake Bay Web sites. Search the United Nations Web site for |Month 1-3 | |zones, and all watersheds that flow |global dead zone issues. Search the EPA Web site.
Visit Maryland’s Save | | |into the bay, specifically from the |the Bay Chapter headquarters and interview the head of the chapter. Get | | |Potomac River on the Virginia side. |details as to begin a chapter in Sterling, VA and Loudoun County. Research| | |Research the short and long term |and document data regarding Loudoun county nitrogen pollution from | | |consequences to not substantially |farmland sources and sewage treatment plants and urban water run-off. | |reducing the bay’s dead zones. |If possible, interview Bay scientists to find out first-hand the issues | | |Research current laws and regulations |concerning the Chesapeake Bay and its dead zone. | | |in place to save the Chesapeake Bay. | | | |Research starting a Save the
Bay | | | |Chapter in Sterling, Virginia. In | | | |addition, research other national and | | | |global water dead zones the long-term | | | |consequences. | | |Develop a presentation to present to a|Develop a PowerPoint presentation concerning why the health of the |Month 1-5 | |number of communities and their home |Chesapeake Bay is so vitally important to Loudoun County and its | | |owner’s associations throughout |businesses and residents. Outline why this information is vital and needs | | |Loudoun County. Develop a presentation|to be shared.
Document local, national and global consequences to current | | |to present to the Loudoun County board|and future aquatic life and ecosystems and the effect to the human | | |of Supervisors regarding Loudoun |population; cite research concerning the Bay’s dead zone as well as global| | |County’s part in contributing to the |dead zones. Develop an additional Save the Bay presentation and the | | |Chesapeake Bay’s current dead zone |importance of starting a Sterling, VA chapter or a Loudoun County chapter. | |crisis. |Develop a resource list of Web sites and organizations so participants | | | |will be able to conduct further research on their own. | | |Visit HOA offices and county board |Ensure that the needed computer equipment will be available for the |Month 5 | |offices to determine a presentation |presentation. | | |schedule. |Ensure that a sufficient number of handouts are ready.
Make up folders or | | | |information packets. | | |Rehearse presentation and review facts|Be prepared to answer any questions the home owners and the Loudoun County|Month 5-7 | |and figures. |board might have. Be prepared for counterarguments. Be prepared to suggest| | | |a follow-up meeting and set a date before ending the meeting. Be prepared | | | |to conduct more research.
Canvass for volunteers to serve on the new Save | | | |the Bay Sterling Chapter. Generate a mailing list for future newsletter | | | |distribution. | | |Develop a presentation for county |Develop a presentation to local school children. Working in conjunction |Month 6-8 | |schools. |with Bay volunteers, help whole classes organize field/work days to the | | | |Bay to pick up trash or plant native aquatic plants.
Teach the children of| | | |native Chesapeake Bay marine life and plants. | | |Rehearse presentation and review facts|Be prepared to answer any questions the home owners and the Loudoun County|Month 5-7 | |and figures. |board might have. Be prepared for counterarguments. Be prepared to suggest| | | |a follow-up meeting and set a date before ending the meeting. Be prepared | | | |to conduct more research.
Canvass for volunteers to serve on the new Save | | | |the Bay Sterling Chapter. Generate a mailing list for future newsletter | | | |distribution. | | |Meet with local and state legislators. |Meet with local and state legislators to discuss already existing |Month 8-12 | | |legislation enacted in unity with Washington D. C. nd Maryland legislators| | | |to protect the bay by restricting nitrogen pollution, urban run-off and in| | | |addition, taking major steps to restore the bay to former health. | | |Follow-up |Prepare follow-up data for subsequent meetings. |Month 8-12 | | |Answer correspondence received as a result of the classes. Follow-up any | | | |comments made. | | |Start a Save the Bay newsletter. | | | |Start a Save the Bay blog. | | | |Talk with local farmers. Determine what fertilizer products used. Conduct | | | |a research for viable eco-friendly alternatives to traditional nitrogen | | | |rich fertilizers. | | | |General local support.
Talk with local newspaper editors to generate more | | | |interest in writing more Chesapeake Bay articles, nitrogen pollution and | | | |dead zones. Do the same with the Washington Post and the Washington Times. | | | |FIGHT for our Bay! | | Note: Appendix F (Axia College, 2008) Benefits and Challenges The benefits of this plan are many. The citizens of Loudoun County become educated and aware of environmental issues that directly impact lives and standards of living.
Lawmakers have an opportunity to seek viable solutions and alternatives to nitrogen enriched fertilizers by proactively talking with the scientific researchers dedicated to eradicating toxic dead zones. Unity among Loudoun County citizens will be fostered though the start up of a Save the Bay, Loudoun Chapter. Bringing this message into the classrooms of public and private schools will train up future generations, teaching the children how important global water resources are to them and to the entire planet. The one major foreseeable challenge will be finding alternatives to accepted nitrogen-based fertilizers.
The county is already committed to reducing fossil burning emissions; therefore, the support of Loudoun County will be there if alternative solutions for the farmer are found. Government, Societal, and Global Support Government agencies, scientists around the world and global citizens are just beginning to completely understand dead zones and their far-reaching impact for every living thing. Action plans are devised, organizations like Save the Bay are being formed and the science community is united and devoted to reversing the damage caused by nitrogen and global warming.
The ultimate goal Ultimately, the objective of the research, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is to, “provide results and tools which will enable coastal resource managers to make informed, proactive, and scientifically based decisions to help mitigate the impact of these stressors on aquatic ecosystems” (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2008). Dead Zones Need to Become Life Zones Dead zones are a not a growing issue. Dead Zones should be as natural to the world’s water resources as the ebb and flow of the ocean’s tides.
Yet due to nitrogen enriched fertilizer run-off, human produced emissions and global warming water current changes, dead zones are growing into a global epidemic. Global law-makers, scientists and citizens are beginning to understand how precious existing water resources are. Without water the planet and all life upon the planet will die. While studies are being conducted and viable solutions and compromises are slowly being put in place, concerned citizens can take action and start to make a difference now.
Through the development of management and sustainment plans addressing education, information and advocacy, communities can come together. The Chesapeake Bay is a wonderful place to start References Agriculture a Threat to Ocean Life?. (2005, May). Environment, Retrieved October 5, 2008, from MasterFILE Premier database. Axia College. (2008). A management and sustainable plan to address overfishing. [Appendix]. Retrieved September 9, 2008, from Axia College, Week Six, SCI 275-Assignment: Water Resource Plan. Part A. Berg, L. R. , & Hager, M. C. (2007). Visualizing environmental science. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research. (2008). Hypoxia & nutrient pollution. Retrieved October 5, 2008, from http://www. cop. noaa. gov/stressors/pollution/welcome. html Chesapeake Bay Foundation. (2008). The Chesapeake Bay’s dead zone. Retrieved October 5, 2008, from http://www. cbf. org/site/PageServer? pagename=resources_facts_deadzone Dybas, C. (2005, July). Dead zones spreading in world oceans. Bioscience, 55(7), 552-557. Retrieved October 3, 2008, from MasterFILE Premier database. Juncosa, B. (2008, October). Suffocating seas. Scientific American, 299(4), 20-22. Retrieved October 3, 2008, from MasterFILE Premier database