Sunday, October 7, 2012

Miami Conservancy Trip

Dr. Sarah Hippensteel Hall from the Miami Conservancy District and the Geology of the Critical Zone class at the hydraulic jump, part of the RiverScape. During our visit Dr. Hippensteel Hall asked each of us why we like water. And she reminded us to put down our water bottles, and drink from the Great Miami aquifer, a clean and lasting supply of water.

Our tour included thinking about the watershed we live on (the Mad River->Great Miami->Ohio River->Mississippi->Gulf of Mexico). We thought more about how agriculture, dog poop, and combined sewers affect nutrients in water.  For example, the cost to un-combine the sewers of Springfield would be in the billions.  Some optimistic things were brought to our attention. 1) There are new incentive programs that pay farmers to reduce their nutrient loads. 2) Cincinnati is working to reduce their CSO problem by keeping the CSOs from filling.  This includes new green planning that routes water into rain gardens and reduces runoff and CSO discharge.  Springfield might benefit from similar practices. 3) Dam failure is not likely in the Great Miami Watershed, the designer Arthur Morgan planned for a flood capacity more than 40% over the Great Dayton, Ohio flood of 1913, the design considered holding areas throughout the watershed, and allows for baseflow waters to travel unimpeded. The design is still considered a good model for protecting water quality while still protecting against flooding.

Thanks for the great tour!

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