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Water and Environment science - Research Paper Example

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This river usually flows in the northern direction together with its tributaries to form the Willamette valley which hosts the largest population of Oregon…
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Water and Environment Science Willamette River is located in Oregon, a in the United s of America a major tributary of the River Columbia. This river usually flows in the northern direction together with its tributaries to form the Willamette valley which hosts the largest population of Oregon including the largest city in the state known as Portland. The monthly flow of this river is estimated to be approximately 8,000 cubic feet per second in the month of August while in December the flow rises to approximately 68,000 cubic feet per second. The river is very important to the inhabitants of the Portland city since it supplies them with sufficient amounts of fish like the Chinook, Sockeye and the Chun Salmon, wild animals as well as natural sceneries. The bird species are found on the river banks and they include the bald eagles and the great blue herons (Sethajintanin, et al., 114).
Willamette River has undergone a tremendous change in the last two hundred years which is characterized by various human activities like the building of dams, dykes, and dredging. There are various sources of pollution in the Willamette River which include the sanitary discharge from the cities of Corvallis and Portland whose combined storm as well as the sanitary sewer release untreated sewage in to the river during the rainy season. Oil and fuel spills are common in the river because of the boating activity common in the river. Sediment erosion is common in the area where flood carries pollutants from upstream areas in to the river thus causing pollution of the river. Household wastes like solvents soaps as well as the household chemicals that are washed down from the roofs and eventually drain into the river (Poor & Jeffrey, 772).
The Willamette River is now considered cleaner than it was in the late 1920’s and in the 1930’s when the river was in a much polluted state that a fish placed in it could die immediately. An authority known as the State Sanitary Authority which was later changed into the Department of Environment Quality. This Authority was responsible for overseeing the cleaning up of the River. In 1968, a major clean up was done which involved the identification of all major waste discharges were controlled thus making the river much safer (Rojas-Burke, 134). From the results of the data collected from the river it is clear that the temperatures were high during the three testing scenarios because of the times in which the samples were taken. High temperatures affect the functioning of the aquatic life since their bodies function well at a certain optimum temperature. The dissolved oxygen was recorded to be poor and this can be attributed to the high temperatures recorded in the river. Low dissolved oxygen can also be caused by the presence of aquatic plants in the river which uses oxygen for respiration. The low oxygen can have negative impact on the aquatic animals since they can easily die. Nitrate levels were good and the explanation is that the erosion levels have reduced thus inorganic materials are not washed down from farms in the upstream areas (Poor & Jeffrey, 776).
The turbidity of the river was recorded as good which implies that the river does not receive much of the dissolved as well as the suspended particles. Turbidity of the water is caused by human activities such as construction. In the past, construction activities in River Willamette were high since the construction of various dams and bridges were undertaken. This accounted for the high turbidity of the water but various clean up measures have been taken to clean reduce turbidity. The effect of turbidity is that it limits the amount of sunlight that reaches the lower depths of the water body and hence the growth of submerged aquatic plants is highly inhibited (Sethajintanin et al, 120).
Works cited
Poor, Cara J., and Jeffrey L. Ullman. "Using Regression Tree Analysis to Improve Predictions of Low-Flow Nitrate and Chloride in Willamette River Basin Watersheds." Environmental management 46.5 (2010): 771-80. ABI/INFORM Complete. Web. 5 June 2012.
Rojas-Burke, Joe. "Oregon Launches Environmental Initiative to Clean Up Willamette River." McClatchy - Tribune Business News: 1. ABI/INFORM Complete. (2004). Web. 5 June 2012.
Sethajintanin, D., et al. "Bioaccumulation Profiles of Chemical Contaminants in Fish from the Lower Willamette River, Portland Harbor, Oregon." Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 46.1 (2004): 114-23. ABI/INFORM Complete. Web. 5 June 2012. Read More
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