Moshe Childs: What is a watershed?
Special to The Union
Editor’s note: Moshe Childs, a seventh grade student at Yuba River Charter School, is the Conservation Speech Winner for Most Informative speech.
No living thing can live without water. If we don’t take care of our watersheds it will affect us sooner or later.
Everyone lives within a watershed, and everyone’s actions have the potential to affect one. Maintaining a healthy watershed is very important. It is much easier to take care of instead of polluting one and trying to fix it later on.
A watershed is any area of land that has touched water, such as your backyard. Some examples are the water flowing through your yard after a rainstorm or living below a mountain range with melting snow. Your yard soaks up some of the water, but the rest flows into creeks or road drains. The water then goes into rivers or lakes and eventually makes its way to the ocean.
The Yuba River watershed starts at the Sierra Nevada then descends through four counties and joins up with the three forks of the Yuba River, eventually making it to the Feather River. While the water is flowing through these counties, it picks up whatever is on the ground. This is one of the reasons you don’t want to litter. All of the pesticides, fertilizer, animal poop, oils from houses and factories, and let’s not forget, human waste and litter, will all be eventually washed back into the Yuba River.
The excess nitrogen from the fertilizer will flow into ponds and lakes as it makes its way to the ocean. You might not think this is so bad, but plants love nitrogen and the algae will bloom. As the algae blooms it will use all of the oxygen up in the water, the aquatic animal life will not have as much as they need and become sick or die a painful death. Plastics, pesticides and industrial waste are also not great in a watershed because people will drink this water later on. Of course the water you drink is probably filtered, but filters don’t always clean the water fully.
As bad as this looks there are possible solutions, such as not littering anymore, and also shopping and growing organic and non GMO foods. The other solutions are much more expensive and will end up polluting our planet in another way. Disposing of trash and recycling properly are the two greatest and easiest things that you can do to protect your local watershed.
Every part of the world is part of a watershed and every watershed is affected by its surroundings. When the gold miners came out west and used chemicals like cyanide and mercury, they poisoned the rivers and wildlife habitat. We are still working to fix this and things have been done, but you as a person in this universe can help our county’s watersheds by disposing of waste properly and looking at the sources you are buying from.
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