Loss of Cover
What Is a Watershed?
Everyone lives in a watershed. A watershed is the land that water flows across or under on its way to a stream, river, or lake.
All water runs to the lowest point. On its way, water travels over the surface across fields, forestland, lawns, and roads. It also seeps into the soil and travels as ground water.
A farm pond, and the land which surrounds and drains into it, is a small example of a watershed. The Spring Creek watershed drains over 117,000 acres into Spring Creek.
What Is an Ecosystem?
An ecosystem is the balance of nature, developed over thousands of years, made up of a community of animals, plants, and bacteria interrelated with climate and geography.
Ecosystems include such things as food chains and natural resistance.
Concerns About the Spring Creek Watershed and Its Ecosystem
The Spring Creek Watershed is predominantly steep, rocky, and wooded. The topsoil is thin, and the subsurface is porous. Rainfall runs off over and under the land, carrying with it everything that is not “nailed down,” especially the soil.
As our watershed loses its forest and good pasture cover, and the amount of pavement increases, less of the rainfall soaks in, and more runs off - and runs off faster. Spring Creek is getting wider to accommodate the increased storm runoff. At the same time, a tremendous amount of sediment and gravel is being deposited into the creek, making the bed shallower.
As the creek widens, it causes more undercutting of the banks, thus causing more erosion and sediment filling, in a vicious cycle. Sedimentation destroys the natural “riffle and pool“ pattern. As the rocky bottom of Spring Creek fills with fine sediment, the aquatic insects and fish - from minnows to game fish - lose their habitats and food sources.