What’s happening in our watersheds?

What’s a Watershed?

A watershed is an area of land where all the water that is under it or drains off from other places goes. A watershed can be made up of a variety of habitats including wetlands, forests, creeks, rivers, etc. These wetlands help protect our water sources as they store, filter and discharge any runoff. They also control the amount of pollution in our water, prevent flooding, and help to protect biodiversity (“What is a Watershed?”, n.d.).

What’s the problem?

Despite all their helpful-ness, we still abuse them in many ways. A few activities that impact our watershed:

– Runoff from parking lots where pollutants such as car oil or gasoline, is carried off into streams and waterways.

-Acid rain, a phenomenon caused by many human activities including burning fossil fuels, falls into and acidifies waterways (“Protecting Water from Non-Point Source Pollution”, 2002).

-Pollutants from the drains (shampoos, soaps, etc) gets into the waterways and end up in the watershed.

-Usage of fertilizer releases and adds ions, such as nitrogen, into the watershed, when it otherwise wouldn’t be there.

-Urban development also blocks the natural flow of watersheds.

-Roadways can also cause trouble by giving water a “fast lane” to streams, leading to potential flooding (How Stuff Works, n.d.).

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