Effects of Sediment Quantity on the Health of Aquatic Ecosystems: A Case Study on Depth of Fines in Coastal Plain Streams in Alabama
Non-point source pollution results from nearly every type of human activity and land use, including urban and industrial storm water runoff, livestock and crop production, forestry, mining, construction, and hydrological modifications. Non-point source pollution affects more stream miles than point source pollution and is a significant reason U.S. rivers failed to meet the goals of the Clean Water Act (Wilkinson, 1987). The magnitude and cumulative effects of non-point source pollutants impart profound impacts on the health of aquatic ecosystems. Non-point sources generally cannot
be monitored at their points of origin because their sources are not readily identifiable. Furthermore, it is difficult to distinguish human-induced from naturally occurring non-point source pollution. Consequently, few definitive data quantitatively document the cause-and-effect relationships between non-point source pollutants and the degradation of fisheries and other aquatic resources.