Clean Water and Conservation
How long would you survive if everyday boatloads of people came to your home, threw trash on your floor, polluted your water and air, wasted your resources, then turned around and left it that way? Well, since the Earth is our home, as well as that of every other living creature, it's our responsibility to take care of it. Remember, if we save our planet we save ourselves.
What Is Water?
Good anglers are concerned about the fish's primary need-WATER. You probably don't think much about water even though you use it everyday. Water is very important because there's nothing else like it in the world. Fish are not the only animals that could not live without it. We couldn't live without it and can't afford to take it for granted.
There is a lot of water. It covers about 70 percent of the earth, but only about three percent of it is fresh water. Most of the fresh water, about 75 percent, is in the form of ice. In fact, the frozen areas of the world have as much fresh water as all the world's rivers will carry for the next 1,000 years.
The demand for unpolluted fresh water is increasing because the earth's population is increasing. How much water does the average person use? Here are some answers:
- In the home, each person uses about 70 gallons of water a day.
- It takes three gallons to flush a toilet.
- It takes 15 to 30 gallons to take a bath.
- It takes five gallons for a one-minute shower.
- It takes ten gallons to wash dishes.
This is a lot of water, but more than half of the water used is used by industries. For example, it takes 250 tons of water to make a ton of newspaper and ten gallons to produce one gallon of gasoline. You can see why it is important to conserve water.
As you have seen, anglers and boaters are not the only ones who use bodies of water and have an effect on fish populations. Industries and power plants use large amounts of water. Communities need water for drinking. Farmers use it to water their crops and livestock. Barges and ships use waterways to bring products to market. Water is also used for waste disposal.
The demands for water use can cause conflicts among those using our water resources. The results are not always good for the fish and not everyone is concerned with fish. An occasional conflict arises when people want to dam a river for irrigation, for controlling floods, or for the production of electricity. Dams create lakes or reservoirs that are habitat for fish such as largemouth bass and crappie. However, the reservoir destroys several miles of river that might have been prime habitat for trout, smallmouth or rock bass.
Water is too valuable to waste. With so much demand for our water it is important that each of us do our part to conserve it.
How You Can Conserve Water
- Reducing water use in the kitchen and bathroom.
- Shutting the water off between rinsing dishes or brushing our teeth.
- Turning the water on only when are actually using it.
- Taking showers since they use less water than baths.
- Using flow-restricting devices on shower heads.
- Fixing leaky faucets.
- Running only full loads of clothes in the washer. Placing a plastic bottle or brick in the water tank of the toilet so that it will use less water for each flushing.
- Not using water for watering lawns or washing cars during times of water shortage.
How Much Water Is There?
The bad news is that there is a limited amount of water on earth. In fact, there's no more water today than there was when the earth was formed. The good news is that water is recycled. Over time, it's used over and over again. Because of this, it's important not to pollute water so that it can be used safely by humans, fish, and other life forms that depend on it.
The Water Cycle
The heat from the sun causes water on the earth to evaporate, or turn into a vapor, and rise into the air. As this vapor rises, it cools, condenses into water droplets and forms clouds. Sooner or later, the water returns to earth in the form of rain, snow, sleet or hail.
When water strikes the earth, some of it returns to vapor through evaporation. Some of it enters brooks, creeks, streams, and rivers. Eventually, this water makes its way into the oceans. Water also seeps into the ground, becoming groundwater. It moves slowly until it reaches rivers or lakes or drains into large underground areas called aquifers.
Water Is A Solvent
Water is often called the "universal solvent." This is because water can dissolve so many things. Water can dissolve some things like salt and sugar very quickly. Other materials may take thousands or even millions of years to dissolve. For example, flowing water can dissolve rock. That, along with other types of erosion, is how the Grand Canyon and other canyons and river valleys were formed.
Boiling And Freezing Points
Water turns into ice at a temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit, 0 degrees Celsius. It boils at a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit, 100 degrees Celsius, and turns into a gas or vapor. It is a liquid between 32 and 212 degrees Fahrenheit and 0 and 100 degrees Celsius. Water also has the ability to store a large amount of heat. This is important because it means that water heats and cools more slowly than land or air.
An angler should know about water temperature. In spring, water temperature rises very slowly. Water warms and cools more slowly than air. Although the air temperature may be warm, the water in some areas may still be too cold for some kinds of fish. Late in the year, the opposite may be true. In fall, water temperature drops very slowly. The air may be chilly, but the water temperature may still be warm. Fish are more active in warmer water than in cold water. Thus, when fishing in colder water, anglers should work their baits and retrieve line more slowly.
Why Ice Floats
Another interesting fact is that cold water is not always heavier than warm water. Water continues to get heavier as it cools, until it reaches a temperature of 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, one cubic foot of water weighs more than 62 pounds. Then, something unusual happens. Water colder than 39 degrees Fahrenheit begins to get lighter. No other liquid acts this way.
What does this mean to us? Well, if water colder than 39 degrees Fahrenheit did not get lighter, ice wouldn't float. Instead, ice would form on the bottom of a lake and kill fish and other life in the water. The fact that water gets lighter before it freezes is important in deep northern lakes.
As the sun melts ice on a lake in spring and begins to heat the surface water, a change takes place. When the surface water begins to warm, it sinks to the bottom, helped by wind and currents. This pushes colder water from the bottom toward the surface. This mixing of water is called "turnover." Turnover often occurs in the spring and fall. After the turnover, the water temperature of the mixed water is nearly the same throughout the lake. During this period fish are likely to be scattered and at any depth.
In summer, however, something else occurs on many deep or large lakes. The water forms three layers, each with a different range of temperatures. The sun warms the top layer (epilimnion) of water faster than the wind can mix it. Another layer (hypolimnion) is the heavy cold water at the bottom of the lake. This layer may have very little oxygen. The third layer is a narrow one that separates the top and bottom layers, called the "metalimnione" and contains a thermocline. Here the water temperature changes rapidly with only small changes in depth.
Why is knowing about these layers important? One reason is that the bottom layer in some lakes has little oxygen. This forces fish to move to a higher level and into the metalimnion, near the thermocline. So in summer on lakes that separate into layers, fish will frequently move to the epilimnion to feed and then return to their preferred temperatures near the thermocline.
Freshwater lakes are not the only places where water forms into layers. It also happens in saltwater estuaries and in the oceans.
We need to make sure that we keep our waters clean and free from pollution. For fish and other animals to live and thrive, the quality of water is very important.
When harmful things enter our waters, the waters become polluted. Polluted water cannot be used for drinking, swimming, or fishing. The key lies in eliminating pollution. Fortunately, you can make a difference!
If water is kept clean and used wisely, there will be enough for our many needs.