by Lindsay Eney
October 22, 2009
Welcome to the third installment of our newest feature, the BayBlog Question of the Week. Each week we'll take a question submitted through the Chesapeake Bay Program website and answer it here for all to read.
This week's question comes from Sacha:
“My husband and I just recently bought a house in Gainesville, Virginia, and were told that the creek that runs on our property is part of the watershed. I’d like to know how I can find out if that is true and if it is, where I can get more information on what that means for us as property owners.”
Your creek is, in fact, part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. As you can see in this map, Gainesville, Virginia, lies within the Potomac River watershed, and the Potomac River flows to the Chesapeake Bay.
The Chesapeake Bay watershed covers more than 64,000 square miles in the states of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia, and contains thousands of creeks, streams and rivers that all eventually drain to the Chesapeake Bay. But no matter where you are, every creek or stream is a part of a watershed -- it’s just a matter of finding out which one.
If you want to find out which watershed you live in, start off by going to the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Surf Your Watershed” site and plug in your zip code, city, or even the name of the stream itself. The site will then generate information for you about your specific watershed, including:
- The name of the watershed
- The congressional districts within the watershed
- The names of citizen-based groups working in the watershed
- Water quality monitoring data
- Links to environmental websites dealing with that watershed
- A link to the National Watershed Network
- An assessment of the watershed’s health
- Information from the United States Geological Survey including stream flow, science in that area and water use data
- A list of places included in the watershed (counties, cities, states and other watersheds upstream and downstream)
As property owners, it is important to learn about this information so you are aware of the health of the water near where you live. You also might want to look into the citizen groups that work in your watershed to help improve or maintain the health of your local waterway. Volunteering with your local watershed group is a great way to help the environment and the Chesapeake Bay.
With that information, check out our Help the Bay section, which details dozens of ways you can make a difference around your home and backyard to help the Chesapeake Bay and your local stream.
The health of the Chesapeake Bay begins with the health of every creek or stream that flows into it. So treat your local waterways well, and the Chesapeake will one day follow!
Do you have a question about the Chesapeake Bay? Please send it to us through our web comment form. Your question might be chosen for our next BayBlog Question of the Week!