By Brian Hartman - Lead Compliance Manager, Minnesota // 2021-09-08
Sediment pollution is the most impactful source of pollution effecting United States waters. Of all sediment pollution, approximately 30 percent is caused by natural erosion. The remaining 70 percent is caused by human activity, mainly from construction sites. Sediment pollution has negative impacts that effect aquatic plant and animal life. Because of this, many trout streams are severely impacted from sediment pollution each year.
One way in which sediment pollution impacts trout streams is because it clouds the water, so trout are unable to see their primary food sources. The sediment will eventually settle to the bottom, however, this negatively impacts the habitat for many aquatic insects which are a crucial part of the ecosystem and food chain in a healthy trout stream. The settling of sediment can also smother and kill larvae and fish eggs, as well as destroy a trout’s spawning area. Suspended sediment particles also block sunlight from entering trout streams, which in return can kill off important aquatic plants which are crucial to a healthy trout stream habitat. Sediment also absorbs warmth from the sun, thus increasing water temperatures which can also negatively impact trout streams. It is important we use all best management practices on construction sites to help prevent sediment pollution from entering trout streams.
Shaffer, Jena. “It's Not Just Dirt: Impacts of Sediment Pollution: Mountain Watershed Association.” Mountain Watershed Association |, 5 Jan. 2017, www.mtwatershed.com/2016/11/05/its-not-just-dirt-impacts-of-sediment-pollution/.