A Look at Runoff

In our first class we mentioned how everyone perceives the orientation of our campus differently.  Throughout the week I’ve been trying to figure out how I personally view the campus and the one thing I’ve realized is that to me everything seems to revolve around the lake.  It clearly separates the two sides of campus and whenever I’m giving directions orientation to the lake is generally mentioned.  When I show visitors our campus I like to take them to the gazebo and have the do the “upside down lake” on the bridge of the commons at night.  Every day I am surprised by how beautiful the lake make our campus.

When we were asked to explore the lake and the creeks that feed into it I decided to observe where the two creeks from residential neighborhoods flowed into together and then ran into the lake.  The largest flow of water clearly came from neighborhoods up hill and flowed in the lake with great force likely carrying with it sediment from the areas upstream.  When I turned to walk up the hill towards campus buildings I noticed that with all the rain that was happening that week there was a small stream of water that was draining into the lake from water on the hillside.  I followed this flow of water all the way up to the baseball fields.  This raised a concern in my mine over the method in which the University cares for the baseball field.  If potentially toxic chemicals are used on the field to keep the grass green and then rainwater is channeled into the stream downhill then that could lead to contamination levels in the lake.  Similarly, this got me thinking about what types of chemicals are being used in the residential neighborhoods across from campus that also might be ending up in the lake.  Even though Westhampton Lake is man-made it is still an ecosystem that holds many species of plants and animals and it was very eye opening to realize how much the actions in other areas away from the lake itself could really have an impact on the lake’s ecosystem.

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