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Protecting the Watershed

Meet Your Watershed

Did you know that a watershed is surrounding you right now?  All of us live in a watershed.  Your neighbor across the street could actually be living in a different watershed than you. A watershed is kind of like a big sink, the highest hills, bluffs, or even bumps in the landscape are what would be the high edges of the sink.  When it rains, the water falls on the ground and runs down hill.  When the water falls on top of the hill, it will run one way or the other down each side of the hill.  Think about what happens if you splash water outside of the sink, all the water doesn't go downthe drain – it falls outside of the sink and falls onto the counter or the floor.  That is how a watershed works. 

The water may not fall down your watershed, but it may fall down your neighbor's watershed. Look at the map and find which watershed you live in. Everything that lands on the streets and sidewalks in your watershed will end up in the creeks, streams, and rivers in your watershed.  Why?  Because every time it rains the rainwater picks up the trash, leaves, car oil, road salt, and other pollutants, and carries downhill, down the streets, to the storm drains.  In most cases, these drain directly to the creeks, streams, and rivers.  Sometimes, storm drains carry the water and pollutants to stormwater treatment facilities, but there are very few of those in the Kansas City Metro area.  This is why it is so important not to litter the streets or sidewalks.

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