The Pollution Of The Susquehanna River In The Chesapeake Bay

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The Susquehanna River is home for many: animals, fish and people alike. It is also a key contributor to the Chesapeake Bay, being the largest tributary within the watershed. The pollution of the Susquehanna directly impacts the health of the bay. To understand the importance of the river to the bay, it is necessary to understand what is causing pollution and what solutions can be introduced to lessen the negative impacts. Pennsylvania is a large participant in rural farming as well as urban sprawl, this results in agricultural runoff from farm land and drainage from urban areas that end up in streams that carry directly to the Susquehanna River, untreated. This causes nutrient pollution that alters the chemistry of the water, posing other risks …show more content…
Older than the mountains it meanders through, the Susquehanna is the sixteenth largest river in the United States with a course of 444 miles and a basin area of 27, 510 square miles (SRBC Overview, n.d.). The river runs through New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland before discharging into the Chesapeake Bay at Havre De Grace, creating the bay’s tidal area. Being the largest tributary to the bay, it is very important that pollution and water quality of the river be monitored closely (About the Bay - Maps - Major Tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay - Chesapeake Bay Foundation, 2016). Additionally, the Susquehanna River is vital to the areas it passes through for various reasons: commercial use, recreational use, tourism and drinking water (More Than Just the Bay/The Susquehanna River - Chesapeake Bay Foundation, …show more content…
All kinds of pollution contribute to the degradation of the water quality, including air pollution. The area of Harrisburg, York and Lebanon in Pennsylvania is listed as eighteenth in the country for most polluted air by short term particle pollution (State of the Air 2016, 2016). The river runs through this area and will see the impacts of poor air quality. Arguably one the biggest contributions to pollution in the river is agricultural runoff, a mixture of fertilizers and animal manure. Both of these substances are high in phosphorus and nitrogen which cause nutrient pollution in water systems. Nutrient pollution can alter many things including temperature, pH and therefore the rate and growth of algal blooms. With an increase in algal blooms, a waterway will commonly begin to experience eutrophication and hypoxia, decreasing the amount of oxygen in the water; this make is difficult, if not impossible for aquatic creatures to survive and oftentimes results in “dead zones” (Withgott, J., Brennan, S. R.,

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