Saturday, July 12, 2008

Watershed--What is it?

Upper Newport Bay aka Newport Back Bay

Orange County has a mosaic of 13 watersheds through which our water is absorbed into the earth or makes its way to the ocean. Some of the watersheds are very small--just a few miles in area--some over a hundred. The Santa Ana River Watershed starts in another county. Most of our nature centers and parks have ponds or streams that are fed by water from the watersheds. It prevents flooding and provides some filtering of water.

Short video on water and the watershed below.

Watershed 101 from Surf Rider Foundation

Upper Newport Bay

Below is a longer video on the watershed in an interview with a naturalist.

What is a watershed?

Below is a five-part series from Michigan on watersheds in general with a little bit on theirs in particular.

Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

Into the Watershed Part 1

American Coots, Mallards, and American Wigeons quack it up in neighborhood run off.

Into the Watershed Part 2

Great Blue Heron at Huntington Central Park

Into the Watershed Part 3

Into the Watershed Part 4

CITC explains watersheds this way "It's the area of land that catches rain and snow and drains or seeps into a marsh, stream, river, lake or groundwater. " Water used to seep naturally into the ground and excess flowed away in streams and rivers to the ocean. Now our concrete and asphalt prevent the water from absorbing into the earth. What you leave on the street or throw out the window of a vehicle ends up in natural areas like parks and streams and wetlands.

Into the Watershed Part 5

So now you understand all about the watershed as the circulatory system of Orange County and the challenge of all our impervious surfaces. Our Wetlands are in the Seal Beach Wildlife Refuge, Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, Talbert Marsh, San Joaquin Marsh and San Joaquin Wildlife Refuge, Huntington Central Park, and the estuary and wetlands of Upper Newport Bay to name a few. In addition to wetlands, many parks and nature centers are filters for neighborhood runoff in Orange County. These areas are important for containing and filtering water before it is released into the ocean. They help prevent flooding. They aren't just important for birders or nature lovers. They are places that preserve the quality of water for our planet and safety during floods. They also do provide places on the Pacific Flyway for migratory birds to rest or winter over. Nothing like the watershed. We birders should understand it and be able to talk with other Orange County residents about the watershed in Orange County.

Turtlerock Nature Center

The watershed is important to people, wildlife, and cities. Orange County has 13 watersheds. Click on these links to OC Watershed to find out about each watershed:

5) Santa Ana River Watershed

OC Birder Girl Links

Just a Few Parks and Wildlife Areas that use runoff from the neighborhood

Carr Park in Huntington Beach

Central Park in Huntington Beach

Environmental Nature Center

Mason Regional Park

Shipley Nature Center

Central Park after the Rain

Tewinkle Park -- Costa Mesa

Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary

Irvine Open Space Preserve Nature Center

Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve aka Newport Bay

External Links and Resources

Irvine Ranch Water District

Lots of information including a clickable Map of Orange County Water Sheds.

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