When streamside plants absorb these nutrients, however, the quality of water downstream is protected as these chemicals moved from agricultural fields across the landscape and into the streams. places we respect and leave alone, not because we understand well what goes on there, but because we do not There are communities fortunate or wise enough to have preserved their watershed areas--their creeks and wetlands--in a relatively undeveloped state.The strips of riparian forest released relatively small amounts of the annual input of nitrogen and phosphorous. In 1990, for instance, residents of the Town of Dryden, New York, agreed with members of their countys Environmental Management Council that "the principal value" of a particular site in their town (Dryden Lake and its outlet, Dryden Lake Creek) lay in "its high quality as a natural area" and opted for its preservation.
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And, granted, there still are serious reasons to develop the sides of some streams--for the prevention of destructive flooding, for example, and for mosquito (and disease) control, and to meet agricultural needs for access to water.
Furthermore, there are studies which show that stream side corridors can actually harm the larger ecosystems through which they run--by facilitating the advance of aggressive alien species or by transmitting pests and diseases (Perault and Lomolino). The pre-colonial forest of the eastern United States was made up of large, continuous tracts, unbroken by farm fields or towns.
Conversely, plants adapted to wetter conditions may be at a competitive advantage during a flood, but less competitive when water levels drop.
Therefore, a flood can slow down rates of competitive exclusion without directly destroying vegetation Run-off from farmland contains fertilizer components--nitrogen and phosphorous--which are detrimental to the balance of life in streams, rivers, and lakes.
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Johnswort, mallows, burdocks, wild parsnips, and clovers, yarrow and bouncing bet.
At the very top, growing out of the cinders themselves,is a wild rose--cinquefoil--a true weed in its ability to flourish even in soils poisoned by industry.