It All Flows Downstream - Sailors for the Sea

It All Flows Downstream

 July 5, 2017  | By: Oceana

water, river, watershed

A watershed is a region surrounding and draining water into a common body of water, which may be a stream, river, lake, estuary or ocean. The outer boundaries of a watershed are determined by the tallest landmasses, such as mountains, in the area.

Water travels over farms, forests, suburban lawns, and city streets, or sinks into the soil and travels as groundwater into a common waterway. As this water flows downstream, it picks up materials such as soil, nutrients and pollutants along the way. Pollutants can include fertilizers, pesticides, oil from cars and boats, salt from icy roads, soap from washing a car or boat, and chemicals from industrial plants.

Wetlands (transition zone between dry land and a waterway) can help trap sediments and pollutants that are washed off the land, but there are many things we can do to prevent pollutants from reaching wetlands in the first place.

How to prevent watershed pollution?

  • Dispose of oil, antifreeze and paints in proper receptacles
  • Use a carwash where there is special wastewater drainage
  • Try to use water-only washdowns for your boat
  • Use fertilizers and pesticides sparingly
  • Pick up litter or join a beach cleanup

Fun in the Sun

Looking for a fun activity that is both educational and easy to setup this summer? Try Shower Curtain Watershed! It is one of our KELP modules, and is perfect for the outdoors.

All you need is a shower curtain or small tarp, spray bottles with water, sand, and some diluted food coloring. The kids can build the watershed using themselves as mountains or set the shower curtain up over chairs. It is a great way to visualize and have a discussion about how pollutants and water all end up downstream. For step-by-step instructions for Shower Curtain Watershed, and more free games and activities, register to download KELP here