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Earth Environmental Education Muddy Day at Pine Creek

Photo Story: Muddy Day at Pine Creek

Soil that drains from hillsides into streams, called sediment, can contribute to nonpoint source pollution, also called polluted runoff. This story shows one example.
It was the middle of February. Woodlands had been cleared to make pastures for livestock on some hills beside Pine Creek. The hills were then seeded with grass.
This view of the pastures is seen by looking toward the west from Highway 181 between Zanoni and Sycamore. With early spring rain to water it, the new grass covered the hills like a green mist.
Then heavy rains fell on the already wet soil. The grass was too young. It hadn't had time to put down enough roots to keep the soil from washing away.

The rain washed some of the soil into Pine Creek, clouding it with sediment. This picture was taken from the bridge at Highway 181.

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Right across the road, the spillway from this pond flows nice and clear. The water comes from Zanoni Spring. 
You can see the difference between the clear spring water coming from Zanoni Spring pond and the water that has drained off the hillsides into Pine Creek.
Here's Pine Creek flowing under the bridge.

What happened? The hills have lost soil. The word for this is erosion. The stream has been clouded by sediment. This is a kind of pollution. The farmer didn't want to lose soil or pollute the stream. The farmer simply wanted to grow more food for the cows that live on the farm. So long as humans work the soil, these remain hard problems to solve.

What are some things that might be done to make this situation better?



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