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What are Ecosystem Services?
“Goods and life supporting services provided by natural ecosystem.”
• timber
• fisheries
• pharmaceuticals
pollination of crops and natural vegetation
pest control
mitigation of droughts and floods
moderation of weather extremes
pest control
maintenance of biodiversity
contribute to climate stability
detoxification of wastes
purification of air and water
What is Water Purification?
Water purification occurs when contaminants,
such as metals, viruses, oils, excess nutrients,
sediment, and debris are removed as water flows
through wetlands, forests, and riparian zones.
Pollutants that Affect Waterways
• Nutrients
– Nitrogen
- Phosphorus
• Pathogens
– Viruses
- Microorganisms
• Salt, sand, petrochemicals, and heavy metals
– Urban pollutants
- Road sediments
• Pesticides and herbicides
– Agricultural
- Non-agricultural
• Thermal pollution
– Industrial and energy generation effluents - Vegetation removal
The Purification Process
• Nutrients
– direct uptake by plants, algae, bacteria, insects, and fish
– soil absorption
– denitrification
• Pesticides
– bacteria
• Pathogens
– not well understood
• Heavy metals
– chemical oxidation or reduction
• Sedimentation
– filtration
Valuation of Water Purification Services
• Replacement costs
– constructed wetlands
– Wastewater treatment plants
– Chemical cleaners
• Recreation
• Health
• Biodiversity
• Esthetic/Quality of Life
• Ethical
Threats to Water Purification Services
• Draining of wetlands
• Deforestation
• Pollution (urban, industrial, and agricultural)
• Introduced species
• Dam construction and water diversions
• Growth in human population and consumption
“Political and Social”
• Habitat protection
• Restoration of wetland and riparian systems
• Balance human and ecosystem needs for water quality and quantity
• Consideration of impacts on waterways as part of all urban, industrial,
and agricultural development
• Financial and political resources
• Continued research
“Individual Actions”
• Avoid overfertilizing your lawn and overtreating with pesticides
• Do not pour pesticides, oil, fertilizers, and other toxic wastes in sewers
or drains
• Support parks and other natural areas
• Volunteer to monitor and clean a waterway
• Help plant vegetation along waterways
• Attend community meetings that deal with development issues.