Environmental Oceanography: Topics and Analysis
For Students

Issues Questions

Please read each question below and type your response into each corresponding box. When you are finished, fill out your name, e-mail address, and instructor's e-mail at the bottom of this form, and click submit to send a copy to your instructor.


1:  What is the human population growth rate for the watershed of the Chesapeake Bay?

2:  Does the population growth rate you just calculated sound large or small?

3:  Use the population growth rate that you just determined to calculate the doubling time for the population (use 70/r, see Appendix 1 to review the concept of doubling time).

4:  The Bay’s airshed, the geographic area that is the source of airborne pollutants that can affect the Bay, is 6.5 times the area of the watershed. How many square miles is the airshed?

5:  Discuss whether you think states and Canadian Provinces in the Chesapeake Bay watershed have a responsibility to reduce levels of airborne pollutants that may reach the Bay

6:  Calculate the volume of Chesapeake Bay. The Bay’s surface area is roughly 11,000 km2, and the average depth is 7 m. Give your answer in cubic kilometers, cubic meters (there are 103 m3 in 1 km3), and liters (1 m3 1,000 L).

7:  How much phosphorus was dissolved in the Bay in 1992? Express your answer in kilograms.

8:  Based on this rate of sewage fl ow, how long would it take for Chesapeake Bay to fi ll with treated sewage, assuming that the sewage was not fl ushed to the ocean?

9:  As part of Chesapeake Bay protection efforts, Virginia required that all municipal and industrial sewage treatment plants and all industries that emit phosphorus reduce the phosphorus concentration in sewage outfl ow to a level of 2 mg/L by the year 2000. Based on attainment of that standard, how much phosphorus did Virginia sewage treatment plants discharge into the Bay in 2000? Express your answer in kilograms and pounds per year.

10:  At 2 mg/L, how does sewage runoff compare to the typical phosphorus values for streams given above?

11:  Do you think a 2 mg/L standard for P is suffi cient to restore the Bay? State your reasons. What additional information would you like to have in order to answer this question more thoroughly?

12:  To what extent should the people in these states be held accountable for air pollution carried beyond their boundaries? Include your reasons and explain them.

13:  Calculate the annual rate of increase of impervious surface from 1990 to 2000. Use r (N N0) N0 or r (1 t)ln(N N0) (see pp 94–95 and Appendix 1).

14:  How does the annual rate of increase of impervious surface compare with the annual rate of increase of population? Discuss your answer.

15:  Calculate the annual rate of forest loss, starting with a forested area of 24 million acres (note that the rate of loss above is daily).

16:  Convert the area covered by seagrasses from ha to ac (1 ha 2.471 ac) in Table I 10-1. Then, on the axes below, or on our website (http://www.jbpub.com/abel/), plot the area in ac by year.

17:  Based on Table 10-1 only, what could you conclude about the health of sea grasses in Chesapeake Bay from 1970 to 2005?

18:  The bay-wide restoration goal for seagrasses is 185,000 acresac. By 2007, what percentage of this goal had been met?

19:  Examine Figures I 10-4 and I 10-5, and summarize the effectiveness of actions taken to reduce pollution in Chesapeake Bay.

20:  In light of what you have learned about the state of the Chesapeake Bay, explain whether the population growth rate you calculated earlier sounds large or small.

21:  Where do most of the nutrients clogging Chesapeake Bay come from?

22:  To what use is most of the grain grown with the fertilizers put?

23:  What solution did the scientist Staver offer to the problem of nutrient pollution from manure spread on fi elds near the chicken operations?

24:  What results as of early 2008 were described in the report to address the manure problem?

25:  What was the reason for the suit fi led by the Waterkeepers Alliance against the State of Maryland?

26:  What substances in manure do environmentalists cite when they contend that manure should be treated as industrial waste?

27:  What was the pollutant contaminating “Dead Creek”?

28:  What percentage of the phosphorus pollution in Vermont’s Mississquoi Bay was from dairy operations?

29:  Comment on the statement that farmers forced to pay to remove their pollution would go out of business. What does that suggest about the relationship between the actual cost of their produce and the price it sells for?

30:  Do you conclude that farms emitting harmful levels of pollution should be held accountable for their action? Why or why not?

31:  Is “cheap” food an acceptable substitute for a clean environment? Why or why not?

32:  What is the human population of the Mersey Estuary region?

33:  When did the Mersey begin to experience serious pollution?

34:  What industrial activities have contributed pollution to the Mersey?

35:  List the types of pollutants dumped in the Mersey mentioned in the report.

36:  What is the major source of hypoxia (lack of dissolved oxygen) in the Mersey?

37:  What installations at Sandon Dock helped to restore dissolved oxygen?

38:  Explain the effect of installing tertiary sewage treatment on the Mersey’s environment.

39:  As a result of water quality improvements, what fi sh species and other animals have been reestablished in the waterway?

40:  How has water quality improved in the estuary between 1985 and 2001 from the “Mersey Basin Water Quality” fi gure on page 4 of the Web report? 63794_

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