Our Watershed

What is a Watershed?

Look down, you are in a watershed.  When it rains, the water that hits the ground flows down hill until it meets a creek, river or ocean.  All the ground and the people, plants, animals, buildings, road on it are a watershed.  Watersheds can small like the Little Falls watershed and drain to a creek or large like the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which includes all the land that drains to creeks and rivers that drain into the Bay.  Everything that you do on your piece of ground, effects the quality of the water in the rest of the watershed.  For a really good description a watershed and all the plants, animals and people are interconnected, visit the US Geological site:  http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/watershed.html

What is the Little Falls Watershed?

The Little Falls Watershed is a 9 square mile area in lower Montgomery County and Upper Northwest DC.  You can see a map of the area by clicking here.   It is located in one of the most densely populated and urban parts of the county and DC.   When it rains, all the water flows to three creeks - the Little Falls Branch, the Willet Branch and the Minnehaha Branch.  We are part of the bigger Potomac Watershed as our creeks flow to the Potomac River near the Little Falls rapids.  We are also part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, as the Potomac River flows to the Bay. 

How do You Affect the Watershed?

Everything you do in our watershed affects the water quality of our creeks. The storm drain system ties directly into the creeks. So, if you wash your car and the soapy water runs into the street, it will go through the storm drains right into the creek.  If your downspouts go the street, the rain water from your roof goes directly to the creek.  If you over-fertilize your lawn, the excess fertilizer is washed to the creek when it rains.  Dog poop left in the park or in the gutter is washed into the creek in a rain storm.  Even a candy wrapper carelessly dropped on the sidewalk will wash into the creek.

What Can You Do to Help the Watershed?

Visit our Make a Difference Pages to see the simple things that you can do to keep our creeks and watershed clean.