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Ecosystem

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Submitted By ralashun101
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Preservation, Conservation, and Sustainability of the Mississippi River
SCI 256
July 27, 2013

Introduction
The Mississippi River, especially the upper region, is one of the most complex ecosystems on Earth. It is home to numerous species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. Since 1927, people have been working to preserve, conserve, and sustain the Mississippi's rich resources and harness its power and energy. However, many problems exist for various reasons. Because of its sheer size and diversity, agriculture is greatly affected. The effects of human population growth on the region cannot be underestimated, but people are working to minimize the impact as well as searching for techniques to manage sustainability and conservation efforts. These efforts lead to the discovery of the renewable and nonrenewable energy sources the river provides.
Agricultural Impact Agriculture is the greatest threat to freshwater today. Agriculture is the growing of livestock and crop to produce food. In order to eat farming is needed and to survive eating is a must. However agriculture can impact the freshwater systems. Freshwater is a replenish supply through rainfall, but it is not limitless. The quality and quantity of remaining freshwater sources suffers, if human consumption outpaces natural restoration. Agriculture use 70 percent of freshwater. Water is indispensable for farming. Government financial need has made growing crops a business profitable causes many countries to grow crops that are inappropriate for the local climate and soil. The soil salinity (saltiness) increases when overproduction takes place, therefore growing hardy crops and raising cattle becomes more difficult. In turn, pesticides and chemicals become major use by farmers to assist produce crops. The remaining water sources pesticide chemicals then wash into the, destroying freshwater habitats and the species that live there. In fact, the polluted runoff can wash all the way to the coast and even begin to affect the marine ecosystem. Another major threat to freshwater ecosystems is the construction of dams, which are used in part for irrigating crops. Dams allow us to store water in a reservoir during a wet season and then release it as needed during a dry season. The agriculture industry's poor drainage and irrigation systems also squander precious water. The World Wildlife Fund estimates that only 20 to 50 percent of water extracted for farming actually reaches the crops. With traditional flood irrigation systems, farmers pump or manually bring water to the fields where it simply flows through the crop area. If the fields aren't flat, water ends up pooling in the lower areas and misses the higher areas altogether.
Growth in the Human Population and How it Affects Freshwater Resources
As our population continues to grow, how does this growth affect one of our most precious resources, fresh water? Only three percent of the Earth’s water is fresh water. This is water found in rivers, lakes, streams and ground water. The Mississippi River is a notable fresh water resource for us in the Memphis area.
The Mississippi River is primarily used today for irrigation of farmlands and transportation of grains and other agriculture materials to New Orleans for export to other countries. A January 2000 study published by the Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee states that close to 15 million people rely on the Mississippi River or its tributaries in just the upper half of the basin (National Park Service, 2012) . Millions depend on the river for jobs and industry. One of the challenges to the Mississippi River is a history of flooding, most recently in 2011 forcing thousands from their homes. There is no number indicating the loss of animals displaced by the flood such as pets, livestock and wild life like deer and birds. As our population grows our need for and dependency on the river will not diminish but will probable increase. We should be working together to improve our water efficiency. Exploring ideas and uses for the river, such as a potential source of energy. Our economy, lives and future depend on developing plans that include this natural resource.
Preservation, Conservation, and Sustainability of the Mississippi River
Many organizations are working hard to find ways to manage the sustainment and conservation of the Mississippi River. Flooding is one of the major problems of the river. Flooding destroys many natural resources along the banks of the river, removing vital soil and sediment that provide food for the different species that inhabit the region. Since 1927, the battle has been raging to control the flooding. Congress gave the Corps of Engineers that following year a new mandate, called the Mississippi River and Tributaries Act, to protect the people of this region from the recurrence of any such event. The Corps of Engineers built at least 1,600 miles of levees along the shorelines of the Lower Mississippi River and 600 miles of levees along its major tributaries (Reuter, 2010).
Unfortunately, the levees are not perfect. Because of age and erosion, the levees break and are in need of major repairs. The flood of 1993 that devastated major cities along the upper Mississippi such as Sioux Falls in South Dakota caused over 1,000 levees to break and result in over $15 billion dollars of damage. Continuing to use the levee system as a technique for managing flood erosion requires more government and state funding to improve our nation's crumbling levee system. Current projects in work include levee enlargement, but environmentally-friendly funding costs $3 million dollars per river mile and is not scheduled for completion until 2031 (Mississippi Levee Enlargement, 2013).
Risks and Benefits of Renewable and Non-Renewable Energy Resources
A subset of Earth’s aquatic ecosystems is called freshwater ecosystems. Ponds, streams, lakes, river, and wetlands are all considered as freshwater ecosystems. Freshwater availability for humans is divided up into renewable and nonrenewable resource. Nonrenewable resource is a natural resource that cannot be generated or reused. Nonrenewable water, also known as fossil water, is found in aquifers underground. This nonrenewable resource will no longer be available for human use because the water has become depleted. The human population disadvantage of the freshwater resources will lead to negative and irreversible consequences. For example, aquatic extension, water pollution, wildlife extension, etc. Renewable resource comes in the form of rain or snow. Renewable resources can be found in lakes and rivers. It also comprises a tiny fraction of the global water pool. The human population benefit from renewable energy resources for waterfowl, irrigation of crops, drinking, production of fish, and shellfish. Renewable energy source can also provide non extractive benefits such as, hydroelectric power, transportation, recreation, habitat for aquatic life and waste disposal.
Energy is one of the necessary requirements to have in order to operate day by day life actives. Energy is divided into two types of sources which are renewable and nonrenewable source. Renewable energy comes from different natural sources like sunlight, tides, wind and geothermal. It is used mostly in electricity generation, solar hot water and motor fuels from used renewable bio fuels. Renewable energy is used continuously and can be easily regenerated without becoming depleted. It can also help the human population by boosting the economic growth and providing more job opportunities. Renewable energy can also have a negative effect to the human environment. For example, the geothermal energy can cause changes in the environment by bringing toxic chemicals from under the earth surface to the top. Nonrenewable energy is energy that is taken from limited sources available on earth. Nonrenewable energy can be attributed to natural sources that cannot be regenerated after it is depleted. It exists in the form of fossil fuels, natural gases, diesels, oil and coal. Nonrenewable energy is very cheap because the energy is converting from one type of energy to another. Nonrenewable energy is mostly used in vehicles and other transportation devices that require gas to operate. This energy source is not environment friendly and can cause serious effect on the human environment health. The Mississippi River is becoming one of the biggest sources of renewable energy in the world. Mississippi River will be installing a technology called the Hydrokinetic in the near future to generate electricity from the river current. The Hydrokinetic will be located at the bottom of the river and will be used to generate power from the movement of water. The turbine floating demonstration is installed at a dock owned by Dow Chemical Company on the Mississippi river in Plaquemine, Louisiana. It has been operating successfully since the tenth of June in two thousand and eleven. One of Hydro great benefits will be providing a non-carbon base renewable energy source. Hydro will be creating a stable renewable energy supply by moving the energy resource away from any fuels that may have an effect on global warning. The Hydro will have great impacts on the human population by creating domestic jobs and saving consumers money. Hydrokinetic will have consideration on the impacts of the environment sea grass, benthic animals, oysters, and claims. Also competing uses such as, fisherman, shipping vessels, recreational boaters. As well as the Economics, by providing the lowest cost of electricity generated. Researchers have recently addressed several concerns about the different risk Hydrokinetic may have on the environment. One of the biggest concerns was the navigational hazards on busy river traffic and steps to take when low water conditions occur. The environmental impact of the river current and tidal devices concerns are seabed, fishing and shipping activities, landscape, marine life, loss of wet lands and wildlife.
Assessment of Sustainability and Conservation Management Practices
The Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative (MRBI) addresses water quality, wildlife habitat and natural resource conservation concerns of the Mississippi River. The agency focuses on needed resources to bear on the water quality problems (“The Mississippi River”, 2011). The MRBI and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), uses a conservation system approach to help control and trap nutrients and sediment concerns (“The Mississippi River”, 2011). Both agencies optimized nitrogen and phosphorus use efficiency in agricultural fields, reduced nutrient and water run-off, and improving soil health. MRBI used key conservation practices, such as nutrient management, conservation crop rotation, cover crops, and residue and tillage management to address critical water quality problems (“The Mississippi River”, 2011).
The Natural Resources Conservation Service invests over $50 million dollars in funds yearly to help keep the Mississippi river healthy from nutrients and sediment run-off. According to the USDA, the NRCS assists the American farmers and ranchers conserve the soil, water, air and other natural resources; these programs offer science-based solutions that beneficial to landowners and the environment ("United States Department of Agricultural", 2012). Annual clean-ups are held every year for volunteers of the community that are close to the Mississippi River; people gather to clean around the banks of the river, picking up old tires, refrigerators, furniture, and tubs; that people used as a dumping site ("United States Department of Agricultural", 2012).. The agency’s encourages homeowners to avoid using dangerous chemicals fertilizers and pesticides to treat their lawn; because these chemicals are carried off in run-off from the rain and sometimes the water from the sprinkler system into local storm drains to the streams, wetlands, and on into the Mississippi River (“The Mississippi River”, 2011).
Conclusion
Therefore, the Mississippi is one of the most important river fronts in our country. It has to stay healthy in order to produce the different resources needed. When the new technology is placed that has been generating in a small part of the river will bring better energy source for the nation. This river has a lot of impact on the communities worldwide and also helps build a great motive for the ecosystem. As the years progress the levees will continue breaking because of how old they are. There is not any support behind to make them stronger or to make the stand on there on for so many years. They should come up with a better solution for the world so that all levees become safe and secure for our nation.

References Freshwater Conservation: The Role of Freshwater Ecosystems." The Nature Conservancy. 2008. (Nov. 12, 2008) http://www.nature.org/initiatives/freshwater/about/art25836.html
Mississippi Levee Enlargement. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.msleveeboard.com/levee.html
National Park Service (2012). Retrieved from http://www.nps.gov/miss/riverfacts.htm People and Freshwater." WWF-World Wide Fund For Nature. May 24, 2007. (Nov. 12, 2008) http://www.panda.org/about_wwf/what_we_do/freshwater/about_freshwater/people_ freshwater/index.cfm
Reuter, M. (2010). Making the Mississippi sustainable in the 21st century. Mother Nature Network, (2013), Retrieved from http://www.mnn.com/earth- matters/wilderness-resources/stories/making-the-mississippi-sustainable-in-the- 21st-century The Mississippi River. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.msrivertn.org…...

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