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River's & Water Part 2: The Watershed

I had no idea what a watershed was so that is the first thing I checked out.

What is a watershed?

A watershed is the land area that drains to a common body of water, such as a stream, lake, bay, or even the ocean. They provide drinking water, habitats for wildlife, soil to grow our food, and locations for fishing, boating and swimming. We all live in a watershed. (source)
Image Credit. A. Vicente, U.S. Forest Service

Snowmelt, rain, etc that collects at a point where it becomes a river or stream is the watershed. 
Benefits of a healthy watershed:
  • Human Health: A healthy watershed provides safe drinking water, provides food, enables us to adapt to the impacts of climate change more easily by cooling the air and absorbing greenhouse gas emissions, and provides natural areas for people to keep active and recharge our batteries. 
  • Ecological Health: A healthy watershed conserves water, promotes streamflow, supports sustainable streams, rivers, lakes, and groundwater sources, enables healthy soil for crops and livestock, and also provides habitat for wildlife and plants. 
  • Economic Health: A healthy watershed produces energy and supplies water for agriculture, industry and households. Forests and wetlands help to prevent or reduce costly climate change and flooding impacts, manages drought, contributes to tourism, fisheries, forestry, agriculture and mining industries. (source)
You are a citizen of a watershed. Your health and the health of your watershed are inseparable. This is because a watershed is an interconnected system of land, water, air, and the life they support—including people and cities. Your everyday actions affect your watershed. When a watershed is unhealthy, everything living in it suffers. The symptoms are easy to see: Beaches are closed because of pollutants. Fish populations dwindle because there isn’t enough water or the quality is too poor to support them. Air pollution endangers our health and damages soil, water, crops, forests, and wildlife. A polluted watershed puts our drinking water supplies at risk. Our food sources are affected: Contaminated shellfish are unsafe to eat. Toxic chemicals in fish can accumulate in our bodies. Your watershed’s health can directly impact you and your family’s health. (source)
Jackson Creek (the local Watershed)
Ok, I've got it, all of our water originates from a watershed so their health is important. What can I do to help?
The EPA offers their tips on how you can help keep your watershed clean and healthy.  
  • Conserve water every day. Take shorter showers, fix leaks & turn off the water when not in use.
  • Don’t pour toxic household chemicals down the drain; take them to a hazardous waste centre.
  • Use hardy plants that require little or no watering, fertilizers or pesticides in your yard.
  • Do not over apply fertilizers. Consider using organic or slow-release fertilizers instead.
  • Recycle yard waste in a compost pile & use a mulching mower.
  • Use surfaces like wood, brick or gravel for decks & walkways, which allows rain to soak in and not runoff.
  • Never pour used oil or antifreeze into the storm drain or the street.
  • Pick up after your dog, and dispose of the waste in the toilet or the trash.
  • Drive less—walk or bike; many pollutants in our waters come from car exhaust and car leaks.   (source)

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