Question: does farming afect the rivers and water ways

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  1. Yes.
    Change in land use effects the downstream waterways in many different ways.
    Pulling up trees reduces the ability of the land to hold water, therefore making rains reach the rivers quicker.
    Planting crops and putting on fertilizer changes the nutrients available in the river and coastal sea (so does human sewage) sometime this can have a positive effect, but anything in excess is bad and this causes the algal blooms that make it to the news.
    Cows also contribute, especially when they are not restricted from entering dry rivers, etc.


  2. Yes, agriculture affects rivers quite badly. Mostly because of fertilizers running off the land and into rivers. The excess of nutrients can cause algal blooms to happen, when the algae start to die off bacteria eat the algae and the number of bacteria increases in the river. Many bacteria use oxygen and so as the numbers of bacteria increase the oxygen levels in the river decrease. This means any fish or other animals in the river cant breathe and die. So even more bacteria appear and eat the dead animals and use up even more oxygen. In extreme cases the river can become anoxic with means there in no oxygen in the river at all. This is when rivers turn dark and smell really bad!
    This can happen from sewage being put into rivers too as sewage is also full of nutrients that bacteria like.


  3. Hi trucker10,

    Short answer is that everything affects everything in some way. There are a lot of people on the planet that we need to feed, so we have large farms that use a lot of fertilisers. As the other scientists mentioned, the water run off from these farms can cause algal blooms in our waterways which is a problem, but this doesn’t mean that farming is wrong. It just means that we have to look for more sustainable and environmentally ways to do our farming. We all have to eat, so I really respect our farmers.


  4. The other scientists have good points. All types of farming and aquaculture have effects on our waterways and oceans. But we need to balance this with the production of food to feed all the people on the planet.

    There are ways that farming can reduce its impact on water ways, like maintaining a vegetation buffer around the creeks and rivers. Fencing off creeks so cattle can’t get to them, provide water troughs for cattle to drink from. Change the use of pesticides to using animals that are natural predators of pest, like ladybeetles.



  1. So every action has a opposite reaction, meaning everything we do affects something else?


    • Yes that s exactly right. Every action has a consequence. So you just have to try and make the best decision you can. As the girls said we all need to eat! So we cant stop farming. but there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. We need to be careful what pesticides we use on our crops and how much fertilizer we use, etc.