Signs a River is Not Safe to Swim 

There are a lot of given signs that will show whether or not a river is safe to swim in. They are telltale, and you can usually tell by merely seeing the river or lake whether or not the specified body of water is safe to swim in. However, there is another sense which will tell you, such as sound and more importantly smells. If you can detect any of the inverse and negative signs that tell whether or not the river is safe to swim in, you can end up saving yourself and your friends and family from becoming dangerously sick or further polluting the water.

1. Smell
If you drive by a body of water or smell it before you see it, then it is very clearly unsafe. There are multiple different reasons that can attribute to a foul smell of a river or other body of water, some of which we will begin to go over now. The first would be a dead animal or carcass. If an animal lies rotting and decomposing in any body of water, then bits and pieces of the flesh and rotting meat will be carried down the said body of water and therefore dispersed into the water supply.

If you see a stream that has a dead deer in it, all of the water (and I mean ALL of it) near it and below it as well as further down the stream will be thoroughly polluted. However, water that is even two inches above the animal will be completely pure and fresh because it has not yet made contact with the said animal. It is possible that another dead animal is farther up in the body of water, although it is unusual for more than one animal, or even one animal for that matter, to be dead and lying in the same stream.

2. Is The Water Still Or Moving?
This is one of the easiest ways to tell whether or not a river is safe to swim in. If it has a current, it is most likely fine. However you should never drink the water, no matter how clear, crisp, and fresh it looks feels or smells. If the body of water is still, it provides bacteria and germs with the chance to grow in the water and therefore pollute and infect the water with sickness-inducing bacteria or viruses.

However, if it is a moving body of water, then because it is not still it does not provide bacteria nor viruses with the chance to germinate, meaning that it cannot grow and therefore cannot survive, which means that the water will be fine.

One thing that you will want to keep in mind if you are planning to swim in a river or body of water is that you could always get sick. If you swallow even a teaspoon of water by accident, you are liable to procure a disease or sickness. In my case, I swallowed about a tablespoon and a half or so on one or two different days, back to back, and was sick almost immediately. I then got strep throat and had a terrible fever, so I do not particularly recommend being careless when it comes to swimming in a river or more importantly a still body of water. In addition to this post, check out what Prevention magazine has to say about signs to look for of unsafe waters.


How Are U.S. Rivers Being Polluted?

The rivers, ponds, and lakes in the U.S and other western countries are slowly but surely being polluted. This is probably true for almost all unprotected water sources. However, some are being more polluted than others, such as the Delaware River, which is currently undergoing cleanup as well as repair and restoration.

However, you may be asking a question similar to this; how ARE U.S. rivers being polluted? That’s just the thing. It is not very easy for me to give you a simple answer, as there are many different ways that rivers in the United States are being polluted in this day and age. However, I will certainly try my best to go over some of the ways that are in use the very most today, at least in the U.S., but I am sure that it applies to other countries as well.

1. Pure Laziness
If you have ever seen fisherman down by the pier, then you know exactly what I mean. A lot of these people bring their friends and family with them down to the ocean side for a relaxing night of fishing and drinking. The last part is the kicker; drinking. So many beer cans and beer bottles, as well as caps and other litter, are either left by the water, thrown into the sea, or just left behind right on the dock. The wind then catches these smaller and lighter items and then flings them down into the water as well. Then fish will see something shiny, be attracted to it, and then bite down on the plastic and metal, which are then ingested (via the fish) by seagulls.

Because of this chain reaction, you now have dozens of dead seagulls and hundreds of dead fish filled with plastic and metal. This leads to multiple things. The first of which is pollution that sinks to the bottom of the river, and also a significant amount of fish and birds dying due to poisoning and indigestible things such as wire, fishing line, plastic, and metal.

2. Industrial Waste
A lot of industries have been known to dump their waste and excess chemicals and other materials into bodies of water. This was done for decades and decades, maybe even around two hundred years, until it was prohibited and laws were enacted. A lot of companies still do this, though, but most refrained from this act because of the severe fines and legal penalties that are affiliated with the crime once caught.

These are the two main reasons that rivers are being polluted today. To recap, you have people who are either intentionally or unintentionally (usually the former) littering and leaving behind garbage. The second reason is companies and other industries leaving behind waste which then pollutes the water, either directly or indirectly, legally or illegally, through loopholes in the system. Read more from National Geographic on Industrial Waste.



How to Filter River Water for Drinking

Water is an essential commodity that is used in industries, agriculture, and most importantly, in households worldwide. Any living organism can’t live without water as our bodies require it for many purposes like digestion. However, we don’t just need any water but the fresh and clean water that is safe for our bodies. Getting this fresh and clean drinking water is becoming difficult nowadays due to the everyday water pollution. The water that you’re drinking from your home tap may be contaminated with chemicals that can bring serious diseases. This may prompt you to buy clean drinking water which most people can’t afford. If you want to save money used to buy this rare commodity, then you should learn how to filter river water at home.

Filtering river water isn’t that difficult, as some people believe. There are different ways of doing so which you can learn today and begin consuming clean water without breaking the bank. One way is by using pitcher water filters which use granulated activated charcoal to remove water pollutants. They are cheap to buy but require frequent filling for large families. They don’t remove all toxins but can reduce chlorine in the water.
Another way of filtering is using reverse osmosis filtration. These filters have a membrane that removes many pollutants in water. They are also paired with Granulated activated charcoal that can help to remove chlorine.
The semi-permeable membrane in these filters can remove fluoride, reduce asbestos, arsenic, and heavy metals in water. However, this method still does not remove VOCs from the water.

The last way which is recognized by EPA as the best for filtering chemicals like pesticides, herbicides, and VOCs is the solid block carbon filters. When you buy quality carbon block filters and install at your home, you will be able to filter many pollutants that make water dangerous to drink. These include nitrate, heavy metals, VOCs, bacteria, fluoride, pesticides, herbicides, and parasites. Most of these gadgets work by gravity and can transform unclean water to fresh and clean water for drinking. They can filter river water, rain water, and pond water and make it safe for consumption.

The best thing about solid block carbon filters is that they use gravity and thus don’t require electricity to run. This will save you on electricity bills. Though they are pricey, they will save you money in the long-term than the above-discussed methods and require minimal filter replacements. Don’t drink unsafe river water while we have many ways of purifying it. Try the above water filters today and experience their benefits.Or, if you’re in the woods without the proximity of store filters, check out this way of filtering:

How Society Benefits From Healthy Rivers

Healthy rivers have the potential to offer a wide range of important benefits to society, but they are often exploited to provide a narrow range of objectives, to the detriment of river health & other human needs. Many social benefits that are derived from rivers are mostly dependent on river health, including its aesthetic and cultural values. Economic benefits (like Hydropower or commercial agriculture) also heavily rely on river health. So, do you want to know how society benefits from healthy rivers? If yes, then do not look anymore as you have already navigated to the right page.

How Society Benefits From Healthy Rivers? – Rivers can actually provide a bunch of essential benefits to societies and humankind — starting from supporting livelihoods to nurturing social relations and contributing to our food, energy, and water supply. Fisheries are one of the most common benefits that are derived from rivers. Healthy river indicators, such as sufficient water quality, connectivity, and flow are essential to ensure a proper fishery productivity. Fisheries support nutrition, livelihoods, spiritual and cultural values, & recreational activities. Fisheries even support food security and poverty reduction.

Needless to mention, the benefits mentioned above are dependent on how the rivers are managed. For example, if a river is exploited for some narrow ranges of objectives, then it may prove to be detrimental to both river health & human needs. Therefore, aesthetic, cultural, and livelihoods are directly dependent on rivers having an overall good health.

Apart from these benefits, a healthy river offers a bunch of economic benefits. For example, economic benefits like commercial farming and Hydropower depend on few aspects of river health, for example, the water flow.

Irrigated agriculture is an excellent benefit that humans derive from rivers. Crops that are grown under irrigated water systems support livelihoods. Irrigation water system for farming can offer an enhanced food security through an increased stability of food supply in areas that are prone to drought, seasonal variability, and natural calamities. This ensures an increased food availability with a better income opportunity for farmers.

Hydropower is another significant benefit that river provides us. Hydropower requires adequate water flows & sediment control. Here, the water quality is not that important. And, Hydropower production can ensure a better energy security by improving its availability.

The Final Verdict: Rivers are utmost essential to our society and human well-being. And, you have already revealed three prime benefits of healthy rivers, such as fisheries, irrigated agriculture, and Hydropower. Obviously, these three benefits largely depend on the river health.

The Importance of Cleaning Rivers

The pollution of rivers in the 21st century has never been worse, but, fortunately, communities around the planet have begun to make efforts to reduce pollution. Clean river success stories abound, from small suburban streams to large river channel systems.

Pollution in rivers causes threat and disappearance of river life and aquatic life. It is known that untreated sewage and industrial waste from relapse cities cause cancer in populations in the lower reaches in many parts of the world, proving that fragile ecosystems and the human population depend on clean rivers for survival.

Each fluid body takes after the refinement procedure. They possess an assortment of non-pathogenic microorganisms that expand natural waste present in the water, and process them with broke up oxygen (D.O.) in the waters. These microscopic organisms transform natural waste into non-hazardous fluid waste and carbon dioxide, in this manner saving the strength of the stream.

Be that as it may, when the measure of natural waste released into the waterway surpasses its capacity to self-decontamination, isolation of waste starts. Furthermore, more terrible, a lot of chemical waste stays untreated and, in this way, profoundly affects amphibian life. Biochemical oxygen request (BOD) of the stream builds, i.e., E. Microbes require more oxygen to extend an extra measure of natural waste. This is unsafe to marine life since creatures and plants additionally require broke up oxygen to survive.

Clearing the waterways of the world has become one of the main priorities for environmental groups and some governments, and regular cleaning days have been organized by volunteers from the community who collect garbage and start a new aquatic flora. How successful these efforts are, in many cases, unfortunately, they are not enough, since most pollution requires filtration systems that go beyond the scope of volunteers from the community.

Cleaning programs are not a quick solution; they take time, energy, money and a lot of work. The marine wildlife and the water flora will not return and will not detect presence until the water becomes clean enough to support them. In New York, the Hudson River contains several hundreds of thousands of kilograms of PCBs that are discharged from factories upstream, requiring the dredging of individual sections of the riverbed and the replacement of sediments. It is expected that this gigantic task will cost several hundred million dollars and still does not take into account the health of the downstream fisheries.

Less expensive cleaning operations are more normal, for example, removal of debris using floating barges, as well as small-scale dredging in areas adjacent to the outlet pipes. These projects have been quite successful in such large cities of the world as Brisbane in Australia, Singapore, Glasgow in Scotland, Dusseldorf in Germany and many others.

Clean river success stories are not isolated projects, almost every major waterway is under close surveillance, hoping that clean water and healthy river ecosystems will become part of the future of humanity.

What is the ecology of a river?

What exactly is the ecology of a river? The ecology of a river adheres to the relationships that living animals and organisms have in common with each other and the environment itself. We can call this the ecosystem. What is an ecosystem? An ecosystem is the total amount of every interaction between all the organisms — plants, animals, bacteria — everything, between the physical and chemical components of the environments natural background.

Most river ecosystems all have several things that are in common. These include, but are not limited to: flowing undistilled water, a physical state that is in continuous change, a variety of ever-changing microhabitats — a total random spontaneity in the rate of the water flow. And of course, animals and plants that have learned and adapted to exist in the conditions of the river.

Water flow is usually the leading factor that makes the ecology of a river so much different from other water-based ecosystems. This type of system is known as a “lotic,” which means flowing water system. The flow, or speed of the water, can always vary from speeding rapids, to slow calm waters. This rate of the water also may set the natural turbulence of the water. The flow of water can be changed by sudden downpours of water due to rain, groundwater, and especially melting snow in climates that are colder. The water in the river alters the shape, curves, edges, and overall size of the riverbed through sedimentation and erosion — two of the terms used to describe this natural occurrence.

Substrate. The substrate is the surface of the river where all the living organisms of the river co-exist with each other. This surface is made up of things that are inorganic. Inorganic materials are usually labeled as geological materials and muck from nearby areas of the river. This geological “silt” usually consists of grains from rocks, pebbles, boulders, gravel, dirt, and sand. The substrate is not permanent, and its consistency is constantly changing over time, due to the weather and climate. The substrate is especially subject to massive changes during heavy flooding.

Light. Light gives the required energy used to begin the process of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis creates the primary sources of food that the river and all its inhabitants need. Furthermore, light provides places for species of prey (because of the shadows that light creates) which gives them places to hide and wait accordingly. However, the amounts of light that a flowing river can receive on an average sunny day vary greatly and depends on a numerous amount of factors. For instance, if the river is located near a forest, the shadows from the trees can strongly block out the suns rays throughout most of the day. The overhanging trees on the side of the river can reduce the amount of light exposed to the river for most of the day. And, deeper rivers have more turbulence. The particles that are in the water slowly weaken the amount of light that reaches the deeper waters over time.

Ohio is an “average” state when it comes to just about everything. Take a look at a typical wild river and it’s make -up.

How do Dams Affect the Enivornment?

Typically, dams provide a broad range of social, economic as well as environmental benefits. These include effective flood control, recreation, waste management, river navigation, hydroelectric power and perhaps wildlife habitat. This only implies that dams have proven to be extremely useful to humanity. In fact, studies tend to show that more than half of the world’s major rivers have functional dams constructed on them as a result of their anticipated benefits.

However, the construction of large water reservoirs has had significant negative impacts on the environment. To be more precise, it has completely altered between land and water, and this has led to the destruction of the existing ecosystem balance. There are over forty thousand large dams which obstruct the rivers globally thus changing their circulation systems. So today in this article, we want to examine in excruciating details, how dams affect the environment.

They negatively impact on the local fish population
The walls of the dam block the migration of fish. Now, this is perhaps because a significant number of dams lack adequate and efficient bypass systems. Again, the modification of dams upstream from an ever-flowing river ecosystem to an unfriendly slack-water habitat leads to temperature changes, increased chemical composition and increased levels of oxygen. These changes regarding the physical properties of a dam are often not suitable for both the aquatic plants and animals which may have evolved with a particular river environment. This will ultimately affect their life cycles, forcing certain fish species into extinction.

Increased incidences of soil erosion
Dams are known to hold back the silt deposition which would otherwise replenish the downstream ecosystems. When a river’s sediment load is held back, it will potentially design its own way to counter the problem. It will erode the downstream riverbed as well as the riverbanks. This will, in turn, cause significant damage to the available bridges as well as other riverbank structures.

Dams destroy the surrounding habitat and ecosystems
The construction of dams usually results in the creation of a reservoir upstream from the dam itself. This pool normally diverges into the surrounding ecosystem thus flooding the existing environment. These floods are known to displace or kill many organisms such as plants, humans and even wildlife.

It is also imperative to note that one of the primary reasons why dams are built is to help curb common flooding scenarios. However, the ecosystems that are prone to flooding are equally adapted to it. In fact, a good number of animal species largely depends on floods during their various stages of life cycle, including reproduction hatching. Again, floods transport and deposit nutrients downstream and this is disrupted by the construction of dams.

They can accelerate the spread of waterborne diseases
Also, the dams that are found in the tropical regions are ample breeding grounds for snails and mosquitoes which are the primary vectors of typhoid and malaria respectively.

They contribute to greenhouse gas emissions
Research has also revealed that most dams, especially those in the tropics, make a significant contribution to the global greenhouse gas emissions. The flooding of the surrounding environment kills trees as well as the other plant life in that area. The dead plants will then undergo decomposition hence releasing vast amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. The production and the subsequent emission of carbon into the air ultimately contribute to the global climate change.

Again, bearing in mind the river is no longer flowing efficiently, the stagnant water together with the decomposing plant remains to make the bottom of the dam to become depleted of oxygen. Subsequently, this lack of oxygen will make the decomposing plant materials to release methane gas, a very potent greenhouse gas which is then discharged into the atmosphere.

The Bottom Line
Despite the vast potential benefits that dams provide, they equally pose many harmful threats to the environment at large. These are just some of the negative impacts caused by them.

River Fishing – Top Tips For Making a Great Catch

Whenever you go fishing, your goal is to have a perfect time and make a big catch. Of course, when it comes to river fishing, if you do not know what you are doing, you can end up returning home empty-handed, which is frustrating. There are some important things to know if you want to catch fish in the river. Here are some of the best fishing tips that will help you make sure that you catch a fish when you go fishing in the river.

Do not scare the fish
You have to remember not to scare the fish when you are going to fish in the river. So many anglers make this mistake and eventually scare the fish. Often they go out into river ways, and they scare away the fish that were in the area. It is better to first fish in the area before you get into it. So, you will not scare away the fish from this area.

Work in the Area
It is also important that you carefully work in the area when you go on the river fishing. Do not start fishing anywhere. Start in one area, and then work for some time so that you cover the water around you in the area in which you fish. Sometimes there is fish; You just fish in the wrong section of the water where you are, so work throughout.

Use Live Bait on the bottom
Using a live bait at the bottom is a great idea when you fish in the river. Some of the best fish are sitting down there. Of course, since you have a river flow, you will need good weights to make your bait close to the bottom. You should feel this when your weights are bouncing from the bottom. From time to time you fall into traps, you are in a great place to look for fish.

Go deeper
Sometimes you need to go deeper when you are engaged in river fishing. The deepest part of the river is often the best place to fish. Sometimes you will find several deep pools where the fish likes to hang out, especially when it is hot. Spend about 80% of your fishing time in the deeper parts of the river, and do not spend all your time on the shallows. You will find a big fish in the deeper parts of the river.

Use the right gear
And, finally, it is important that you use the right equipment for fishing in the river. It’s a good idea to combine the equipment that you use with the fish you want to catch. Some people choose the wrong equipment, so they can not catch the fish they want. With the right equipment for the fish you want and the right equipment for fishing in the river, you can go home with a good catch.

Beware of Flash Floods

You’re hiking up a dry riverbed. Your surroundings are fascinating, surreal. Walls of variegated sandstone rise steeply on both sides. Distant thunder upslope warns you of possible danger ahead, but too far ahead to worry about now. You scan the sky above. Nothing but blue with puffy clouds scudding overhead.

An ominous rumble from upstream begins to echo between the canyon walls and draws closer with frightening rapidity. The ground begins to shake. You search anxiously for a way out of the canyon. Seconds after you succeed at dragging yourself up a sloping crack in the wall, a freight train of water preceded by a wall of debris thunders down the once dry river bed and washes away your tracks.

Flash floods can appear out of nowhere without much-advanced warning. It does not need to be raining where you are. The phenomenon that produces the roiling water may be far up from your location.

To borrow from medical terminology, here are some risk factors for flash floods: southwestern deserts, narrow canyons, washes and low-lying areas. Other risk factors are possible rain storms or thunderstorms up the slope and spring thaws.

Before you hike into any place that exhibits one or more of the above risk factors, talk to someone at a ranger station to see what the weather patterns are and what the chances are of encountering a flash flood. Always be aware of the possibility of flash floods. When hiking in an area where there is such a danger, constantly look for escape routes.

Never underestimate the power and the danger of flash floods. They have the power to rip out trees, smash buildings and wash out bridges. They can rapidly rise to a height of 10 or 20 feet. And the amount of debris that they push before them and carry with them is staggering.

Flash floods are nothing to mess with. Be constantly alert. They are killers. If you sense any danger of a flash flood, head for higher ground immediately and fast.

Never camp in low-lying areas that might be prone to flash flooding.