case study charles river watershed
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a) Ecosystem Goods and Services
Charles River Watershed has the following core ecosystem goods and services:
The first one is of fresh water. Fresh water is a vital resource for the local population of humans as well as those of different animals. Water quality of Charles River Watershed has been a critical issue before 1995. However, different efforts were made to address this very issue but the water quality is still not up to the mark. As part of CRWA (Charles River Watershed Association), the firm is actively participating to make it swimmable and fishable river again (CRWA n.d.).
Clean air is another core aspect that is essential for determining quality of life in the region. With increasing population of 35 communities, there is an increase demand of clean air (oxygen) from the plants. Nevertheless, clean air is another valuable resource for the local community for their better health and well being.
Food is a primary source of survival for every living being. It can be in the form of useful nutrients that plants consumed in the process or photosynthesis or it can comprise of the food chain that different consumers follow.
Timber is another valuable good that is provided by Charles River Watershed. The core purpose of the trees is using it for different products that require wood. However, excessive utilization of this valuable resource has severe consequences that include deforestation and loss of ecological diversity.
Biodiversity is the true beauty of nature and it serves to enhance the living environment for both animals, plants, humans and different microorganisms. The watershed contains more than 8000 acres of protected wetlands. The protection of biodiversity plays an important role in state’s wealth of biodiversity.
b) Economic Value of Charles River WatershedFor air, assume the economic value of fresh air to be $1 per person per day. Considering that, the net fresh oxygen required by the humans is considered. So the total of $1 x 365 days x 900,000 people= $328 million per year.
As given that, the population of Charles River Watershed is 900,000 people. As per USGS (n.d.) estimation, a person uses around 90 gallons of water per day. Consider one-person per housing scheme, would have $992.56 per annum cost of water (BWSC, n.d.).
$ 992.56yearx 365 days1 year x 90 gallons day(person) x 900000 people= $ 29345 billions per yearConsidering the plantation based on 8,000 acres of wetlands would lead towards plantation and subsequent source for generation of oxygen. Considering that, from a financial analysis, the planting density can be 500 trees/acre, herbicide costs $25 per acre, seeding cost $50 per acre and the average cost of planting trees is $135 per tree (Virginia State University n.d.). Total cost would be $210. Hence,
$ 210acre treex 500 treesacre x 8000 acres=$ 3300 per acreFor food, aquatic life can be considered the primary source of food and among them; Cod, Scallops and Haddock are quite prominent. The prices of all the aquatic livestock is based on 10th December, 2015. During those times, the price for Cod was 280 cents/lb, haddock 130 cents/lb and 1300 cents/lb scallops (NEFSC n.d.). So, the collection price would be $17.1/lb. An average American consumes around 14.5 pounds of fish per year. Relevant data has been taken from Fiorillo (1-2) and Greenfacts (n.d.)
$ 17.1lbx 14.5 lbfish(person)(year) x 900000 people=$ 223.155 millions per yearc) Based on the current developments, the Charles River Watershed is not entirely healthy at the current moment. Nevertheless, the CRWA is on their way towards making the watershed and land contamination minimized; however, it would take huge amount of resources for achieving it.
2) Climate and Water
a) Based on the hydrograph of Quincy, MA, it is evident that there has been substantial variation during mid-May’15 to November’15. The highest peak attained as part of water consumption was measured around 37 cubic feet per second during the fluctuation time span (provisional data). However, the overall peak is observed during January’15 at around 60 cubic feet per seconds. The greatest dip was observed to be around 0.8 cubic feet per second during September’15.
b) The second graph represents the hydrograph of Dover, MA. Based on the hydrographical trend, it can be observed that the highest peak is observed in the month of January which accounts for around 1200 cubic feet per second. However, the lowest discharge is observed to be 8 cubic feet per second.
c) In order to determine which river will flood, the peak flow and recession limb plays an important role. In case of Quincy, MA, it can be observed that the peak value of 60 cubic feet per second is observed with substantial recession limbs at the end of every local maxima. Another factor is basin lag time which is the initial time taken by the water to reach the river before its peak value. The lag time in both graphs is quite similar because the time to attain peak flow is almost same. Based on the graphs, Dover has lowered recession time that implies that the water entering the basin and leaving it are not equal and substantial accumulation of water can be observed. Also, the considerable high peak flow of Dover, MA is observed at 1200 cubic feet per second which makes it more probable to flood (EPA n.d.).
3) Air Quality
a) The main source of nitrogen dioxide in atmosphere occurs when the fuel is combusted at extremely high temperatures. They are also produced by motor vehicle exhaust along with different stationary equipments that includes industrial boilers, power plants and other electrical utilities (EPA n.d.).
b) As per the data mentioned, it is because of process development. As per EPA-NO2 trends (n.d.), the annual concentration was stable in 1980s and it started decreasing during the 1990s. The core reason behind it was that the two core sources of NO2 in 1995 were transportation and fuel consumption accounting for 49% and 46% respectively. Between the time span of 1986-1995, the vehicular emission accounted for 2% and fuel combustion was 6% only. A similar scenario has also occurred in Los Angeles in late 2000s that shows enhanced concerns for environmental protection and legal obligations incurred by the state.
c) In comparison with the trend of Los Angeles, Boston has a substantially better air quality. Considering the trends of 1990-2010, it can be observed that the average value of NO2 emissions is considerably lower for Boston as compared to Los Angeles. Los Angeles has attained a peak value of 50 ppb in 1991 whereas Boston has a peak value of 35 ppb in the very same year. Consider the following latest trends for the Los Angeles and Boston:
The national standard has shifted to 100 ppb during 2010 to 2014. Based on the current data, it can be observed that, Boston have more promising results based on the national standard. This shows that the Boston has better air quality considering the current trend of 2010-2014.
4) Alternate Energy Resources
a) Installation of wind turbine in the backyard would surely be a step towards clean energy. Although, large scale implementation of wind turbine requires substantial resources and space that is inadequate for a backyard. However, a small scale wind turbine can help in generation of electricity for lighting up the home and other auxiliary applications. The core advantages for installation of small-scale wind turbine would be its cost effectiveness, environmental sustainability, and it’s nature of clean fuel source.
b) Installation of large scale wind turbines would require substantial amount of manpower requirement along with purchase and installation of heavy and expensive equipments. Also, it has a factor of enhanced noise pollution that can be aesthetically unpleasant for local populace. The local wildlife will also suffer by installation of turbine blades. Transmission of power is another concern because of line losses occurring during power transmission (Energy.gov n.d.).
c) Based on the depleting resources, wind energy is a useful resource for generation of electricity. However, its implementation is largely based on remote areas and required substantial design modifications to be adapted to densely populated cities like Boston and Los Angeles. However, the advantages of installing wind energy would also provide a clean initiative for other states and cities to rely lesser on fossil fuels based power generation. At the current moment, the cost outweighs the benefits; however, with substantial modifications, the wind turbine can become a source of best clean energy alternative (energy.gov, n.d.).
a) The largest animal that can survive in ecosphere for 10 years is the shrimp. However, there are a number of considerations. The concentration of algae in the ecosystem is an important factor. The shrimp health would be dependent on the water chemistry inside the ecosphere. The chemistry is significantly impacted by microbial and algae growth. Enhanced growth of algae would result in increasing the pH of water that would kill the shrimp. Temperature is another core factor. Temperatures are usually in the range of 60oF to 85oF. Excessive temperature would result in thermal stress on shrimp in ecosphere. However, the lowered temperatures would decrease the metabolism of it Abundant Earth n.d.).
b) The core modification is to place the biosphere in an environment with predictable weather pattern. During the 1994 experimentations, the oxygen levels were compromised because of lack of sunlight and photosynthesis phenomenon. Nevertheless, different technological advancements including carbon capture sequestration (CCS) can also be utilized for prolonged availability of oxygen in biosphere 2. Apart from that alternative sources for oxygen regeneration can also be employed that includes CO2 scrubbers and adsorption plants as part of biosphere 2 plans.
c) It could become possible by introduction of a highly modified version of biosphere 2. In 1994, the techniques for capturing environmental carbon and pollutants were not available that has failed biosphere 2. For making that experimentation to work, it is also necessary to control psychological breakdowns of people residing there. For that, different leisure activities should have to be incorporated for enhancing their team efforts. Food is another important factor. For survival in closed enclosed for two years require development of proper dietary plan for each individual based on key food ingredients. Based on the estimation, the food cycles should have to be designed for creating better outlooks for people living within the enclosed chamber (Rogers n.d.).
a) Based on the law of conservation of mass, 10 pounds of groceries would lead to waste generation, and accumulation. Consider the ten bags of groceries have eggs, fruits, vegetables, wine, drinking water, cereal, snacks, milk, laundry detergents, packages meats, and bread. These are the most common items that are a part of a common US household. For all the waste that is generated from the organic sources either goes into the dustbins or it is consumed by human beings. However, the synthetic goods that include detergents are utilized for washing clothes and are drained with the drainage water. Similarly, the food is consumed and sometimes wasted by human beings. The consumed food is utilized as part of body and is accumulated in human body with some amount of discharge towards sewerage system. The bottled and packaged goods are usually discarded towards dustbins. Hence, approximately, 6-8 pounds of groceries would be wasted depending on personal eating behaviors (Vermeir and Vermeir 2006).
b) Based on the conversion of 1 therm = 0.8 US gallons of automotive gasoline. So, 180 therms would imply 180 x 0.8 = 144 US gallons of automotive gasoline.
c) Considering 15-minutes shower would utilize 1.1 gallons/min x 15 min = 16.5 gallons. However, considering a 15 minutes shower having 2.5 gallons/min flowrate would utilize 2.5 gallons/min x 15 min = 37.5 gallons.
7) Climate Change
a) Climate feedbacks are the processes that can diminish or amplify the climate forcing effects. A positive feedback is the one that enhances the initial warming of climate. On the other hand, negative feedback is the one that reduces the initial warming of climate.
Among positive feedback systems include cloud and ice albedo. Clouds have tremendous impact on climate of the Earth and they have the capability to reflect around one-third of the sunlight hitting the Earth’s atmosphere. A warmer climate causes more amount of water to be held in the atmosphere thereby formation of more clouds. Increase in the density of cloud traps more heat within the atmosphere thereby creating positive feedback. Ice is another positive feedback system. Ice is basically white and highly reflective medium as compared to the ocean surface that is quite dark and readily absorbs heat. With the increase in global temperature, the darker ocean’s capability to absorb heat enhances thereby causing more ice to melt and hence, making the earth warmer on global scale (NASA n.d.).
Negative feedback systems are quite difficult to analyze and understand. Carbon cycle is considered as the negative feedback system. For every tone of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere around 50% of it is absorbed by land and ocean. The increase in amount of CO2 absorption in sea water decreases with increasing temperature. For the land, increase in temperature enhances the shift of plants towards the north and towards higher altitudes thereby resulting in more trees absorbing the CO2. Another example is that of clouds, which can also be considered a negative feedback system. Stratocumulus clouds cause the environment to warm up. However, the effects of cirrus clouds are quite similar to stratocumulus clouds. However, the increase in cirrus clouds would lead towards warming the climate and decreasing will lead towards cooling thereby making it an exactly opposite phenomenon observed in stratocumulus clouds (Met Office n.d.).
b) If the ice in Greenland melts completely, a rise of 20 feet in water level is observed. For Arctic Ocean melting completely, it would not affect the sea levels because the ice is not as thick as the North Pole and usually floats on the ocean. As per Marshall Brain (n.d.), by the end of 2100, the sea level would rise 20 inches.
c) Rising sea level would severely contaminate sea water by seeping into the freshwater bodies and underground water sources. It would also cause irrigation problems because the seawater will not be appropriate for irrigation. The real-state and tourism industry would also suffer quite severely and North Carolina is an exceptional example facing economic problems as part of climate changes (Harvey n.d.).
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