GO IN DEPTH

Watersheds

Watersheds Photo Credit: Clipart.com

Introduction

You know that clean water is an important resource that is needed by all communities. Because of this, people in communities around the world often participate in efforts to protect their local watersheds. Use the resources on this esheet to learn more about watersheds and the actions being taken by citizens to try to protect their watersheds.


Exploration

To begin, view these two resources about watersheds:

As you view these videos, think about your answers to these questions (you can record your answers on the Watershed student sheet):

  • What is a watershed?
  • What is included in a watershed?
  • What is its driving force?
  • Do you know of any watersheds in your region? If so, where are they? What are they like?
  • Are these watersheds important for your region? If so, how are they important? What would happen if the watershed near you gets full of oil or other pollutant?

Now go to and read Community-Based Watershed Management and read just the introduction and the section on Watershed Functions. Use the information from this resource to help you consider the five main functions of a watershed. These functions are hydrological and ecological in nature. On your Watershed student sheet, list the main hydrological and ecological functions.

You know that clean water is an important resource that is needed by all communities. Because of this, people in communities around the world often participate in efforts to protect their local watersheds. For an example of this kind of effort, see The Water Cycle in Portland: Living in a Watershed. As you are watching this video, think about your answers to these questions (you can record your answers on your student sheet):

  • Where does the water from streets and parking lots go?
  • What are some of the steps the city is taking to help protect its watershed?
  • What can citizens do to help protect the watershed?

To learn more about community-based watershed management, go back to Community-Based Watershed Management and read the rest of the page. Think about your answers to these questions as you read this resource:

  • What is watershed management?
  • What is community-based watershed management?
  • What are some characteristics of community-based watershed management?
  • What are some of the challenges associated with community-based watershed management?
  • What are some keys to success?

Now you should research watersheds where you live. To start, you can visit the Adopt Your Watershed page. Explore the links in order to discover what kinds of activities citizens can do to help protect their watersheds. You can use the Report of Watershed Citizen Group student sheet to take notes on this information.

Then go to Surf Your Watershed to find information about a watershed in your area. You can use the zip code widget on the right-hand side of the page to find it. Once to the results page, you can click on the “Citizen-based Groups at work in this watershed” to get information on those groups. The websites of these groups could provide water monitoring data and other information that may be helpful for your project.

If you find that you are not able to get enough information about your local watershed from the EPA site, you could supplement those results by going to the website for your local government and visiting the public works, parks, or stormwater division sections of those sites. Information on runoff issues in your community, surface water problems in your watershed, and current water monitoring efforts can be obtained by visiting those websites or calling the offices. Before calling, work with your teacher or parent to think of questions you can ask the water professionals that will help you develop a focused project.

After doing some research on your local watershed, select a group in your area. Visit their website if they have one. Contact the organization via email or phone and interview a member of the group. Gather information about the work that they do, the specific threats to the watershed, and any successes that they have had. You should use this information to prepare news articles or reports on what is going on in your community.


This esheet is a part of the Watersheds lesson.

Did you find this resource helpful?

Esheet Details

Grades
AAAS