Lesson Plan #8 – Watershed Clean Up



Students will understand how and why our pollution ends up in our natural waterways.


Wherever people live, there is a watershed. A watershed is an area where rain, snow and other water drains from the land into a common waterway. Drainage systems are part of every watershed and consists of a network of ground

water, streams and rivers that channel the water, sediment and other materials to a common waterway and eventually into the ocean. Runoff is the water in a watershed that flows across the ground and picks up extra materials in its path such as fertilizers, car oil and pet waste. Pollutants can be categorized into point source and non-point source. Point source pollution occurs when pollutants are discharged from a identifiable source, like a pipe, a well or a ditch. Non-point source pollution does not originate from one location but multiple sources or a large area. Examples include fertilizers from farms, oil from cars, toxic materials from factories and industries, salt from snow removal, sediment from construction, and bacteria from livestock. Non-point source pollution can also originate from people as the choices we make at home, such as the soap from washing your car which, goes directly into the street drains and will flow directly into a nearby water source. People can easily reduce their non-point source pollution by being aware of their actions. Using a carwash to wash your car, purchasing organic or biodegradable pesticides, disposing of oil, antifreeze, and keeping pet waste out of the streets are all ways to reduce pollution in our watersheds.


What is a watershed?

How does human pollution end up in the waterways?

What is point source pollution? What is non point source pollution?

What actions can humans take to keep a watershed healthy?

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