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    Presentation Narrative: Functional Areas of Practice Lesson 3


    SECTION 1 – NATURAL RESOURCES & THE ENVIRONMENT Environmental Movement I’m Henry Bittaker from the APA-Florida Chapter and in LESSON 3 on Natural Resources & Environmental Quality we will be addressing the AICP Exam Preparation Sections on Natural Resources & the Environment; Parks, open space and recreation; the Principles and Applications of Sustainable Development; Energy Policy; and Hazard Mitigation & Disaster Planning. In Section 1 we’ll address Natural Resources & the Environment. We’ll begin by briefly discussing the modern environmental movement that helps protect these resources, before focusing on the resources themselves and some of the planning & regulatory tools that are used to protect them. I’ll address the U.S. conservation/urban parks movements and park and recreational planning in the 2nd section in this lesson. The roots of a national environmental movement can be traced back to George Perkins Marsh’s 1864 Man and Nature that explored the destructive impact of human action on the natural environment. However, it was really in the 1960’s that the explosion of the environmental movement took root, following the expanded public awareness that came about from environmental disasters events such as the Cuyahoga River fires, the Santa Barbara oil spill, and publications such as Rachel Carson’s 1962 Silent Spring about the devastating effects of DDT and other pesticides on bird reproduction and the environment. The resulting public protests, including the first Earth Day in 1970 (pictured), helped lead to the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) under President Nixon, the creation of the EPA, and a series of subsequent national environmental laws in the 1970’s including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act, and the Toxic Substances Control Act that are covered in more detail in other modules. These early national environmental laws, and those passed since then, have helped protect the nation’s aquatic and marine systems, sensitive upland habitats, groundwater, and air quality, and are covered in more detail in the Spatial Areas of Practice & Plan Making modules. Aquatic & Marine Systems – Watershed & Wetlands AQUATIC & MARINE SYSTEMS Freshwater comprises less than 3% of the world’s water, and originates in the precipitation (i.e. rainfall, snowfall, hail) of the world’s hydrologic cycle. The land runoff from that rainfall forms a watershed, or drainage basin, that flows either towards an ocean, a freshwater lake, or manmade system. A watershed is delineated by the highest points of its drainage topography (see the illustration), and can vary greatly in

    Instructor’s Notes: In order to offer exam candidates the widest range of preparation tools and to accommodate various learning styles, this guide includes scripts or notes that instructors used while recording the instructional videos. Candidates should be aware that these unedited Instructor’s Notes are intended to complement videos, not replace them. To get the maximum instructional value from this guide, candidates should also watch the videos and read any accompanying resources.

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    Presentation Narrative: Functional Areas of Practice (Lesson 3)


    size, with the largest in the U.S. being the Mississippi River watershed covering more than 1.2 million square miles, and portions of 31 states and 2 Canadian provinces. Wetlands have a multitude of definitions, but are generally areas that saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, such that their vegetation and animal components constitute a distinct ecological system. In general, wetlands function as transitional ecosystems between terrestrial and aquatic/estuarine and marine systems where deeper water occurs and any vegetation is covered by fresh, brackish or saltwater. Wetlands vary widely in their hydric (wet) soils, topography, climate, hydrology, water chemistry, vegetation, and ecology. Traditional examples of wetlands include tidal and non-tidal marshes, swamps, bogs, and ferns, including temporary wetlands, such as prairie potholes, vernal ponds, wet meadows and seepage slopes. Such ephemeral wetlands are often important to a wide variety of species as habitat, especially for some amphibian species, as they usually lack fish predators, and may also act as a required seasonal source of water and food during waterfowl migration or breeding. Besides acting as habitat and nursery areas for many species, wetlands serve important water quality treatment functions, help absorb and slow floodwaters, stabilize stream banks, lakes and coastal shores, and provide human recreational opportunities (e.g. bird watching). Wetlands that are “waters of the United States” (i.e. in essence, part of the navigable waters of the U.S.) are considered “jurisdictional” and subject to regulation by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers through Section 404 (dredge and fill) provisions of the Clean Water Act. Non-jurisdictional (isolated or temporary) wetlands are often addressed by the states, through state or local planning and regulation. The protection of wetland functions from land use impacts may be accomplished through outright onsite preservation, enhancement, restoration, creation, or wetland exchange (aka “offsite mitigation” or “wetland banking”) where a similar wetland, often of higher ecological value, is protected and managed offsite in exchange for onsite development. Aquatic & Marine Systems – Lotic & Lentic Systems Streams and rivers are primarily formed from the precipitation runoff from land, and the resulting flow within a confined channel and banks. When groundwater flows into a moving water body, that water body is known as “gaining” from the groundwater (i.e. a “gaining” stream). Conversely, when a stream is losing water by recharging groundwater, the system is referred to as a “losing” stream. The ecological systems formed by a flowing (or “lotic”) water body typically differ significantly from those in still water (or “lentic”) ecosystems, such as ponds or lakes, due to individual plant and animal specializations to live in flowing water. The flows in lotic systems have frequently been affected by physical bank or floodplain alterations, dams, and over-withdrawals for human consumption or irrigation. Two major examples of the latter situation are the Colorado River that actually runs dry most years before reaching the sea, and the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin that is the subject of an ongoing Tri-State water war between Florida, Alabama and Georgia over the allocation of these water resources to upstream Atlanta (Georgia’s human consumption), versus to downstream environment/fisheries (Florida’s endangered aquatic species and its oyster/shrimp industry) and power generation and navigation (Alabama and Florida). Ponds and lakes are standing (or non-moving) water bodies, that are either natural or man-made (e.g. Lake Mead formed by the damming of the Colorado River). Their ecology responds to a variety of environmental features, such as their water level regime (particularly depth and duration of flooding), nutrient levels, shading, climate, clarity, and salinity. As previously mentioned, some small ponds may be

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    Presentation Narrative: Functional Areas of Practice (Lesson 3)


    ephemeral (temporary) in nature, or even created by animals (e.g. beavers and alligators). The Great Lakes are so large and deep, that they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth, containing approximately 21% of the world's surface fresh water. Lakes are often characterized by the amount of nutrients and productivity they contain as being either oligotrophic (low nutrients, low productivity), mesotrophic (medium nutrients, medium productivity), eutrophic (high nutrients, high productivity) or hypereutrophic (very high nutrients, overproduction). Oligotrophic lakes are typically clear, highly oxygenated lakes with low phosphorus levels, often supporting game fish species like lake trout, whereas eutrophic and hypereutrophic lakes are more characterized by their respectively increasing low transparency, high phosphorus levels, the presence of significant algal blooms and resulting low oxygen levels. One note on algal blooms: in freshwater systems, phosphorus is usually the missing nutrient that helps trigger algal blooms; in marine systems, the missing nutrient is usually nitrogen; and where marine and aquatic systems meet, the resulting estuarine system can be either phosphorus or nitrogen limited. Aquatic & Marine Systems – Estuaries & Marine Systems Where rivers begin to meet an ocean and measurably dilute oceanic waters, brackish water estuaries are formed, one of the most productive natural habitats in the world that are important for more than 75% of the nation’s commercial fisheries. Some species, such as the American oyster, live predominately in estuaries where they better escape some of their main marine predators. Other adult marine species, like herring and pink salmon, spawn or, as juveniles, feed in estuaries where they can grow up before returning to the sea. Within estuaries, some of the important, highly productive habitats include salt marshes, intertidal flats, oyster reefs, open bay wa


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