Urban Streams: Teacher Study Questions

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Discussion and Research Questions on Urban Stream Restoration

The following discussion and research questions can be used in conjunction with the “Urban Stream Restoration” video segment on North Carolina Now and with the “Cracking the Culvert: Urban Stream Restoration in North Carolina” article. 

The questions involve several 8th grade science objectives, including human impacts, reading for information, mapping, predicting, making hypotheses, and writing across the curriculum. Additionally, the questions can be used by (and modified for) other grade levels and subjects.

  1. What stage in the life cycle of a river do the restored streams of Little Sugar Creek and Rocky Branch represent? Give specific characteristics to support your answer.
  2. What abiotic (non-living) factors determine the species present in the restored streams?
  3. What nutrients are important to measure and monitor in a stream and why?
  4. What is the gradient of the exposed section of Rocky Branch located behind North Carolina State’s Carmichael Gymnasium?
  5. What types of sediments are located in the streambeds?
  6. Draw a contour map of Little Sugar Creek or Rocky Branch to scale and include the GPS coordinates.
  7. Create a 3-dimensional model of Little Sugar Creek or Rocky Branch.
  8. Which North Carolina river basin contains Rocky Branch? Little Sugar Creek?
  9. What type of funding was found to work on and complete these projects?
  10. What federal act led to the planning of these projects?
  11. What was done with the debris that was removed from the streams during the restoration process?
  12. How will the restoration of these waterways affect the greenway concepts of Raleigh and Charlotte?
  13. What are “greenways”? Is this a modern concept?
  14. Predict ways these restored streams could be used as outdoor classrooms.
  15. What plants will be removed from the Little Sugar Creek restoration project? Which native vegetation would be best suited as a replacement and why?
  16. Explain the process of how plants break down and neutralize various pollutants.
  17. How might the microbial population change (numbers, diversity, etc.) once Rocky Branch is “daylighted”?
  18. Describe two food webs that are evident at Rocky Branch and Little Sugar Creek.
  19. Discuss the possible ramifications on the coast, in terms of water quality, biological diversity, seafood nursery areas, etc., if Rocky Branch had not been restored.
  20. What are the legal ramifications when rivers in North Carolina extend into other states (e.g. Roanoke River, Yadkin-Pee Dee)?
  21. Discuss the following quote from Baba Dioum, an environmentalist from Senegal: “In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.”