Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Nose Hill Park pond; fall 2010, by Mariah and Brittany

Figure 1: Photo of Nose Hill pond.
Taken by Brittany M. on 09/2010
The human body is made up of approximately 50-65% water. Our brains are about 85%, and our bones are around 15%. Now imagine if all of that water in our body was polluted with gasoline, storm run-off, sewage and fertilizer. If this were true, it would make it near impossible to live healthy, happy lives. If we are unable to live in these predicaments, why should other organisms have to either?

Figure 2: Photo of Mariah L-R at
Nose Hill pond. Photo taken by
Brittany M. on 09/2010
 Nose Hill Park pond is a man made pond. It is the water source for many living, breathing, important organisms that allow the food web to cycle. Without the proper living conditions, these animals aren’t known to survive in Nose Hill Park for long. Animals such as deer, coyotes, and even porcupine reside in Nose Hill Park. These animals require water to live, therefore, taking advantage of the nearest water source…the pond.
Figure 3: Tiny flower found floating on the
surface of the water in Nose Hill pond.
Photo taken by Brittany M. on 09/2010.
My lab partner and I took a couple trips down to Nose Hill Park pond to research the organisms living in and around the pond, we did this to see if we could grasp a better understanding of the quality of the water and some things that could be the cause of the pollution or lack there of. We observed that there were many different species of insects living in and around Nose Hill Park pond. Some of these include; Cactus Fly Larvae, Water Boatman, Leeches, Amphipod, Damsel Fly Larvae, and May Flies. After further research, we concluded that these are all clean water indicators telling us it isn’t too late to change what will most likely be the outcome of this pond…death by pollution. While collecting specimens and samples from the pond, my partner and I observed a small patch of mud with what looked to be some sort of oil or gasoline, and after testing, we realized that it was in fact oil. The oil could have gotten onto the outskirts of the pond in a variety of ways, but what we all know for sure is that it is because of human interaction.
In order for change to occur, we must be aware of the problems within the pond. High levels of Phosphate (PO43-) contribute to high algae growth and often results from over feeding or infrequent water changes. After further research, we established that the level of phosphate in a fresh water pond should be approximately 0mg/L; however, the phosphate levels from Nose Hill Park pond were noticeably higher at 2.5mg/L. High levels of nitrate in a fresh water pond indicate high levels of pollution. Nitrate levels in freshwater should be around 10mg/L in order to be safely consumed. Our test results showed that the pond in Nose Hill Park had nitrate levels at around 5 mg/L telling us that the water does in fact meet the federal health standards for fresh water. Concluding our experiments, we have established that the water is in fact clean, but at the same time, high amounts of algae are present which affects the amount of oxygen the other organisms in the pond can consume.
As one of the largest municipal parks in Canada, Nose Hill Park is often visited by our rapidly growing population and their pets. Although the pond may be satisfactory at the moment, it will not stay that way for long because of human interference and animal waste. It is up to us to change our harmful behaviours now before the pond is terminated. If Calgarians continue on the path that we are on leading to the destruction of the Nose Hill Park pond, it will not only affect the organisms living there now, it will also affect us. From the first stage of pollution running off into the pond from residential areas near by, the water in the pond is contaminated which is later consumed by producers in and around the pond through root uptake. Primary consumers such as deer and rabbits, innocently feed upon the contaminated producers and are thus affected by the polluted water as a result of human negligence. Next victim to the human ignorance are the secondary consumers such as coyotes. The secondary consumers feed off of the tainted primary consumers and therefore ingest the pollution. As the chemicals and human substances move up the food chain, the concentration of the pollution amplifies, this process is known as bioamplification.
As the population in Calgary grows, the amount of pollution in and around us grows along with it. Calgarians need to recognize the dramatic negative affects their lack of attention causes to the beautiful habitats that surround us; such as the Nose Hill Park pond, and change their actions immediately…before its too late. We should take note on how the level of contamination in and around the pond varies as time goes on and make sure we are taking drastic action to keep Nose Hill Park as pleasant of a park as it can be, starting with the pond.