Take The James River Survey!

James River Survey

Rate these potential water quality threats to the James River on a 1-10 scale, 10 being highest threat and 1 being lowest threat:

Wastewater treatment plants collect and treat sewage from cities and towns like Springfield, Nixa, Ozark, Reeds Spring, Galena and others. The treated water is then discharged into creeks that flow into the James River. This treated water is known to alter the water chemistry of the receiving stream which can cause higher water temperatures, more algae growth, and added phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations which affects the biodiversity of stream life.
Septic tanks are mainly used by rural households to treat their wastewater since rural areas have no access to municipal sewer service. The tank drains to a series of pipes that distribute the liquid out into the soil. Household septic tanks rely on the surrounding soil and its natural bacteria to clean up the wastewater. Since the Ozarks and the James River region contains a lot of thin, rocky soils that offer little to no absorption, there exists a potential for the hosehold wastewater to leak down into the ground and also flow into streams and springs with little treatment.
Stormwater runoff flowing across agricultural areas can be a source of pollution to nearby streams and rivers when the land is treated or managed without consideration for the impacts to the local watershed. Examples of this include: 1) the removal of vegetation all the way to the water’s edge which makes the streambank vulnerable to erosion and soil loss, 2) over-grazing of livestock to deprive the soil of cover-thus allowing for erosion during rain events, 3) over-application of fertilizer or pesticide or application just before a storm-event, 4) livestock and farm animals directly accessing the stream.
Stormwater runoff is rainfall that flows over the ground surface. It is created when rain falls on roads, driveways, parking lots, rooftops, and other paved surfaces that do not allow water to soak into the ground. Stormwater runoff from urban areas causes nearby streams and rivers to flood faster compared to runoff from the same storm falling over a forested area. Stormwater runoff also picks up and carries with it many different pollutants that are found on paved surfaces such as oil, grease, nitrogen, phosphorus, bacteria, trash, pesticides, and metals.
Removal of vegetation from a stream or river bank leaves it vulnerable to erosion and loss of adjacent land while also increasing the amount of gravel in the stream bed. This in turn causes less area for water to flow in the stream and thus contributes to increased flood levels and more erosion of the stream banks, perpetuating the cycle of erosion downstream.
Dumping of trash and litter into streams and rivers has long been utilized as a means of waste disposal. In the Ozarks, sink holes have long been considered a dump for unwanted waste items. However, streams, rivers and sink holes are all connected to our local water systems and litter disposed of in these locations presents both an unsightly problem and is hazardous to wildlife and recreational use. Besides solid waste, dumping of unwanted liquid waste such as old oil, paint or even manure can harm aquatic life, destroy fish populations and reduce recreational uses of the affected stream.

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