What is a Watershed
No matter where you live, you live in a watershed. A watershed is the land area that drains to a single body of water such as a lake, wetland, underground aquifer or river. The actions of people who live in a watershed affect the health of the water that drains through it.
- 16 times more stormwater runoff is produced by a one-acre parking lot compared to a one-acre meadow.
- A single quart of motor oil dumped down a storm sewer creates a two-acre oil slick.
- 70 million pounds of active pesticide ingredients are applied to lawns in our country each year.
- On average, 10 pounds of nitrogen are discharged to ground water from a properly operating septic system per person using the system each year.
- Three billion fecal coliform bacteria are produced by an average sized dog dropping.
- Over one million acres of land are converted to urban use in the U.S. each year.
- 27,200 gallons of water fall on a one acre yard during a one inch rainfall.
- Recent research has discovered that urban stream quality begins to sharply decline once impervious cover in a watershed, such as streets, driveways, sidewalks and rooftops, exceeds 10%.
How Can I Make a Difference
You can make a difference by:
- Driving less. Walk or bike instead.
- Conserve water every day: take shorter showers, fix leaks, and turn off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving.
- Pick up after your dog and dispose of the waste in the toilet or the trash.
- Don’t pour toxic household chemicals down the drain. Instead, take them to a local hazardous waste collection center.
- Use surfaces like wood, brick, and gravel for decks, patios, and walkways. They allow rain to soak in, not run off.
- Test your soil before applying fertilizer – it may not need it!
- Never pour used oil or antifreeze into the storm drain or the street. Recycle them at your service station.
- Use hardy plants in your yard that require little or no watering, fertilizers, or pesticides.
- Adopt your watershed. Learn more at: EPA Watershed Protection Website.
What is the Adopt Your Watershed Campaign
- Volunteering to monitor water quality
- Stenciling storm drains
- Organizing river cleanups
- Planting trees along eroding riverbanks
- Hosting a water festival