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In the last 10 years the phenomenon known as acid rain has become recognized both in the United States and Europe as a major environmental danger Acid rain has brought devastation to thousands of lakes and streams in the US and Canada such as the Colorado Rockies Some aquatic systems have become so acidic that they are effectively dead In others fish struggle to survive Acid rain damage in the US alone is estimated at more than 10 billion annually Acid Rain is one of the three most threatening environmental factors to water quality in Colorado two more factors are mining and recreational development Once the water quality in Colorado is destroyed then that leads to impact the downstream rivers The watersheds in Colorado supply 10000000 gallons of water daily to other states This enables the pollution in Colorado to spread to across the country An ecosystem con only withstand a limited amount of acidity so if there is an excess of acids it can easily destroy an ecosystems balance The problem is one of balance nature depends upon balance Normal precipitation reacts with alkaline chemicals - derived from the regions bedrock and found in the air soils lakes and streams - and is thereby neutralized However if precipitation is more highly acidic then acid-buffering chemicals can eventually become depleted In this case the buffering effect will no longer occur and natures ability to maintain balance will have been destroyed The species that provides the best indicator of environmental damage is fish Sulphuric acid in water can affect the fish in the lakes in two ways directly and indirectly Sulphuric acid H2SO4 directly interferes with the fishs ability to take in oxygen salt and nutrients needed to stay alive For freshwater fish maintaining osmoregulation is key in their survival Osmoregulation is the process of maintaining the delicate balance of salts and minerals in their tissues Acid molecules in the water cause mucus
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