Writing with Scientists

Shannon, Utah
Grade 11, Age 16

Shannon's report about Utah's river water quality won a 2005 Young Naturalist Award.

See how Shannon uses both visual aids and words to explain her observations and information.


Troubled Waters: A Six-Month Longitudinal Study of the Spanish Fork River System

Phosphorus is also often a non-point-source problem. Every site except for the Diamond Fork River, Site 3, had high phosphorus levels at some time during my six-month study. Phosphorus enters the water as artificial fertilizers, household detergents, and through mineral-rich springs. To prevent phosphorus from entering the water, the public needs to be educated. Educational tips can include washing the car on the lawn rather than the driveway, picking up after pets, fertilizing less, and maintaining septic systems. Another possible solution is having the phosphorus-rich water diverted to settling ponds so it can be cleaned before it enters the river.

I found low dissolved oxygen (below 7 ppm) at some point during the study at all sites except Site 4. The low dissolved oxygen was most likely caused by high levels of phosphorus and nitrate. Phosphorus and nitrate are linked to algae blooms, which deplete the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water through cellular respiration. This problem can be solved when you reduce the amount of phosphorus and nitrate entering the water.

Learn more about Shannon and her report.