Event Title

Estimating The Impact Of Large Hog Farms On Freshwater Mussel Diversity

Faculty Advisor

Aaron Shoults-Wilson

Graduation Year

2018

Location

Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Start Date

21-4-2018 2:00 PM

End Date

21-4-2018 3:00 PM

Description

In the U.S., hog farms are mostly concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), where hogs are raised in large numbers in a small area. Such farming practice concentrates waste, leading to the contamination of water resources. This has implications for the environment, human health and aquatic life. Hog farms pollute the water with contaminants like ammonia, which is harmful to aquatic species like freshwater mussels. North America has the richest diversity of freshwater mussels in the world, and about 63 species are found in Illinois itself. Hog farming practices can threaten the freshwater mussel populations, which are already declining due to anthropogenic environmental pollution. We wanted to answer the question, where would hog farms impacts on mussels be highest in a river system? We focused on the Spoon River watershed in Central Illinois as it is an extensively studied site for mussel diversity, and is an area receiving push for introduction of additional CAFOs. We used geographic information systems (GIS) technology to map out the hog farms and create a preliminary predictive model for the impact intensity of hog farms along the Spoon Rivers and its tributaries. We predict higher impacts in tributaries near hog farm operations and the middle stretch of the main Spoon River. The lower half region of the watershed is predicted to have higher hog farm impacts due to the cumulative impacts of all farms upstream of the region. Thus, if more hog farms are added, the lower region might be affected the most. Our model provides a visual representation of predicted hog farm impacts for further comparison with Spoon watershed mussel diversity data.

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Apr 21st, 2:00 PM Apr 21st, 3:00 PM

Estimating The Impact Of Large Hog Farms On Freshwater Mussel Diversity

Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

In the U.S., hog farms are mostly concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), where hogs are raised in large numbers in a small area. Such farming practice concentrates waste, leading to the contamination of water resources. This has implications for the environment, human health and aquatic life. Hog farms pollute the water with contaminants like ammonia, which is harmful to aquatic species like freshwater mussels. North America has the richest diversity of freshwater mussels in the world, and about 63 species are found in Illinois itself. Hog farming practices can threaten the freshwater mussel populations, which are already declining due to anthropogenic environmental pollution. We wanted to answer the question, where would hog farms impacts on mussels be highest in a river system? We focused on the Spoon River watershed in Central Illinois as it is an extensively studied site for mussel diversity, and is an area receiving push for introduction of additional CAFOs. We used geographic information systems (GIS) technology to map out the hog farms and create a preliminary predictive model for the impact intensity of hog farms along the Spoon Rivers and its tributaries. We predict higher impacts in tributaries near hog farm operations and the middle stretch of the main Spoon River. The lower half region of the watershed is predicted to have higher hog farm impacts due to the cumulative impacts of all farms upstream of the region. Thus, if more hog farms are added, the lower region might be affected the most. Our model provides a visual representation of predicted hog farm impacts for further comparison with Spoon watershed mussel diversity data.