You're an environmental reporter for the Associated Press. You have
been asked to write an investigative article about the nitrate and phosphorus
pollution in your state's rivers and lakes.
What can be done to improve the water quality of the rivers, lakes,
watersheds and groundwater resources in your state?
Here are the steps to follow when writing your article:
- Become informed about water quality issues by reading or skimming
online resources related to water quality.
- Start by reading two articles:
on Water Quality - What is in the water?
Other Internet Resources
The following WWW resources will also help
with your research.
- Read with a purpose. Here are some questions to keep in mind
- What water quality facts are most important?
- How do the ideas of experts differ?
- How does water quality impact your health?
- Which government agencies provide resources and statistics about
- Identify the main issues. List the water quality issues that
have an impact on rivers and lakes in your state. What do people in
your state need to know about water quality?
- Prioritize your list by deciding which issues are the most
- Key research questions. When you have finished your reading,
use the research questions below to structure the content of your article.
- Summarize the key points in an investigative article How your
article will be graded.
Submit the assignment to your teacher.
- Why do we have water quality standards and guidelines?
- What happens when nitrates and phosphorus enter rivers and lakes?
- What is occurring when lakes turn green and sometimes smelly in summer?
- How do pollutants pose health risks?
- How do pollutants affect the kinds and number of fish in rivers and
- How do pesticides contribute to water quality problems?
- What does the federal Clean Water Act require?
- How does water quality improvement affect recreation and tourism
surrounding lakes? How does water quality affect recreation such as
swimming, fishing, water skiing, boating and canoeing?
- What limits does the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommend
to keep algae from becoming a problem?
- What do studies report about work to restore wetlands and find no-phosphorus
fertilizer solutions for farm fields and lawns?
- What trends does the water quality data show in your state?
- What is your state doing to address water contamination and prevent
pollution from a range of sources including agricultural activities,
solid waste landfills, underground storage tanks, and commercial and
household hazardous waste?
- How do practices such buffers and wetland creation and restoration
improve water quality?
- How can citizens participate in the monitoring of streams and lakes?
Think Pollution Prevention
You have learned a lot about water quality. Now apply this knowledge
by investigating the needs for action in your community.
Each person can make a difference.
What can be done?
What can you do?
As a class select a service project that addresses a water quality
issue in your community.
Show others how to think pollution prevention!
Photos courtesy of the Agroecology
Issue Team, Iowa State University