Humans and the Environment - Making an Impact  

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam

the Colorado River would flood almost every 6 months, causing housing and farming problems. The hoover Dam was built in 1935 to prevent flooding in the Colorado River. But the life downriver from the dam was in desperation of resources and nutrients. When the dam was built, the wildlife above and at the dam flourished. The dam caused massive problems for farmers as it erupted valuable topsoil, destroyed plant crops, and uprooted trees and other vegetation when the dam was released. The fish life has almost gone extinct due to the dam's presence. The trout and salmon population have decreased 82% in the last 70 years due to the dam. The Arizona endangered desert tortoise that depends on the delicate balance of plants and food that has died because of the dam has been rapidly declining in population. But there's hope. The Colorado River said by officials will never reach its potential of life because of the destroyed wildlife cause because of the dam. The Hoover Dam has affected the environment surrounding it greatly, for good and bad.

Chernobyl 

Chernobyl

 In 1986 the Chernobyl accident contaminated 125,000 square miles of land in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine with radio nucleotides About 40% of the contaminated area was used for agriculture. The remainder was forest, bodies of water and urban centers. Plants and animals living in the 30-km exclusion zone received the highest level of radiation. Since radionucleotides migrate very slowly in soil, the radiation level in this region remains high. In Belrus 2,640 sq. km of farmland and 1,900 sq. km of forest have been taken out of use by humans.

The radioactive materials released by the accident had many immediate harmful effects on plants and animals living within 20 to 30 km of the Chernobyl power plant at the time of the accident. However, there are no reports of any such radiation-induced effects in plants and animals outside this area, referred to as the Exclusion Zone. Each plant and animal responded differently to the accident depending on the dose of radiation received and sensitivity to radiation.

Overall, in plants and animals, when high doses were sustained at relatively close distances from the reactor, there was an increase in mortality and a decrease in reproduction. During the first few years after the accident, plants and animals of the Exclusion Zone showed many genetic effects of radiation. Still today there are reports of anomalies in plants and animals both in the Exclusion Zone and beyond.

Acid Rain

Acid Rain 

Dead or dying trees are a common sight in areas effected by acid rain. Acid rain leaches aluminum from the soil.  That aluminum may be harmful to plants as well as animals. Acid rain also removes minerals and nutrients from the soil that trees need to grow. 

At high elevations, acidic fog and clouds might strip nutrients from trees’ foliage, leaving them with brown or dead leaves and needles. The trees are then less able to absorb sunlight, which makes them weak and less able to withstand freezing temperatures.The ecological effects of acid rain are most clearly seen in aquatic environments, such as streams, lakes, and marshes where it can be harmful to fish and other wildlife. As it flows through the soil, acidic rain water can leach aluminum from soil clay particles and then flow into streams and lakes. The more acid that is introduced to the ecosystem, the more aluminum is released. Some types of plants and animals are able to tolerate acidic waters and moderate amounts of aluminum. Others however, are acid-sensitive and will be lost as the pH declines. Generally, the young of most species are more sensitive to environmental conditions than adults. At pH 5, most fish eggs cannot hatch. At lower pH levels, some adult fish die. Some acidic lakes have no fish. Even if a species of fish or animal can tolerate moderately acidic water, the animals or plants it eats might not

Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina was one of the deadliest hurricanes ever to hit the United States. An estimated 1,833 people died in the hurricane and the flooding that followed in late August 2005, and millions of others were left homeless along the Gulf Coast and in New Orleans.Katrina was the most destructive storm to strike the United States and the costliest storm in U.S. history, causing $108 billion in damage. It ranks sixth overall in strength of recorded Atlantic hurricanes. It was also a very large storm at its peak, maximum winds stretched 25 to 30 nautical miles (46 to 55 kilometers) and its extremely wide swath of hurricane force winds extended at least 75 nautical miles (138 km) to the east from the center.As Katrina made landfall, its front-right quadrant, which held the strongest winds, slammed into Gulfport and Biloxi, Mississippi, devastating both cities. A large storm surge ranging from 10 to 28 feet devastated coastal areas across southeastern Louisiana and coastal Mississippi.

Ultimately, 80 percent of New Orleans and large portions of nearby parishes became flooded, and the floodwaters did not recede for weeks.

The National Guard was called in to help with evacuations. Thousands sought refuge in the New Orleans Convention Center and the Superdome, which were overwhelmed. It was one of the largest displacements of a population since the Great Depression


Tornadoes

Tornadoes


Tornadoes effect the environment by destroying buildings and trees. Tornadoes also kill animals, which effects the food chain and disrupts the whole environment. Tornadoes destroy our farms, which means there will be food shortages around the surrounding area. After everything is destroyed, humans have to rebuild. Tornadoes can cause water contamination, which poses a serious problem, as plants, animals and humans are effected by this. Debris can be very dangerous, as it could kill plants and animals very easily. Some trees take over 100 years to grow, so if they are destroyed, they will be hard to replace. Fires may occur after a tornado due to damaged power lines and gas leaks. Fire contributes to global warming by giving off carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Because of man-made global warming, scientists believe that there will be an increases in tornadoes and other severe weather. A strong or violent tornado can uproot objects as large as trees and send them flying through the air like missiles. A brief tornado touchdown may leave as little as a few yards of damage. A big tornado that stays on the ground can leave a path of destruction over 50 miles.


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Public - 10/10/16, 2:33 PM