What are 3 different things to consider when looking at the health of a stream?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Health of a stream is measured by a number of parameters (which can be further classified into primary, secondary and tertiary) including temperature, pH, turbidity, color, odor, dissolved metals, dissolved oxygen, solids, bacteria, nutrients, etc. Scientists take samples from streams and also take photographs of the area to assess the health of the stream. The samples are tested for various water quality parameters in the laboratories.

In my opinions, temperature, pH and color would be the three crucial parameters for health of a stream. Temperature affects not only the rates of reactions, but also the healthy survival and growth of phytoplanktons and zooplanktons. Many of the reactions taking place in the stream are a function of its pH. Extreme pH can be deadly to organisms. Color is, generally, an indicator of presence of organic impurities (or their decomposition) in the water (except for the case when dyes may have been discharged into stream). Organic contamination will consume dissolved oxygen, thereby decreasing the quantity of oxygen available for fishes and plants. 

There can be a number of other parameters for defining the health of stream and their relative importance will vary from case by case.

Hope this helps.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team