Musselmen High School, Inwood, WV, have been learning about
non-point source pollution. Students in Mrs. Stevens
chemistry class know that, according to the Chesapeake Bay
Program, sediment and nutrient pollution are the biggest
non-point source water pollution issue in our region.
Sediment is particles of soil, rock, and sand that are
carried into surface water runoff. Sediment causes
problems for stream bottoms because it fills in the small
spaces between rocks where benthic macroinvertebrates live.
Sediment, while suspended in water, also contribute to the
low oxygen levels in the Chesapeake Bay; it makes the water
cloudy and blocks sun light from reaching the bottom, which
prevents aquatic vegetation from producing oxygen.
Students toured Musselmen
High's grounds looking for "hot spots" areas that might
contributing to erosion that gets into local streams and
ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. Hot spots for erosion
can be found by looking for areas of impervious surface.
Impervious surfaces do not allow water to be absorbed into
the ground. Typical impervious surfaces are roads,
parking lots, and buildings. The students were able to
find several erosion hot spots on their campus. In
addition, they found other kinds of non-point source
pollution hot spots as well like. See an aerial image
of their school with hot spots mapped out here
Students determined to
reduce the amount of erosion entering Mill Creek,
their local stream, by creating a low-mow area
around a runoff pond next to a parking lot. In
a low-mow area, the grass is only cut two or three
times a year. Because it is allowed to grow
tall, the grass will slow runoff and capture more of
the sediment coming off the parking lot.
Students planted trees around the area to define it.
Trees will absorb some of the stormwater runoff, add
wildlife habitat, and create shade.
trees were planted. Species that can tolerate
wet roots were planted in the low areas including
Sycamore, Birch, and Red Maple. Sugar Maple
and Pin Oak were also planted. The trees were
recently dug "ball & burlap" commercial stock.
B&B trees are dug from the earth and their roots are
rapped in burlap to form a ball.
BURY THE TRUNK.
B&B trees, and many container trees too, have the
soil around their roots disturbed during the digging
and transport process. Notice how the soil was
pushed up and buried the trunk of this tree.
Students had to dig the trunk out of the soil ball
before planting. When planting trees, always
check that the root collar, the important part of
the tree where trunk widens and transforms into
roots, is still above ground and visible when the
planting is complete. If buried, the bark of
the trunk can rot or be damaged by insects.
What would the trees say
Get your feet in the dirt!
Institute - From the Cacapon to the Potomac to the
Chesapeake Bay, we protect rivers and watersheds using
science and education.
Gillies, Executive Director
Frank Rodgers, Education/Outreach
possible by funding from The Norcross Wildlife Foundation,
the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Virginia
Environmental Endowment, NOAA-BWET, USEPA, The MARPAT
Foundation, and our generous