Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Do Your Know Your Watershed?

If you read this blog very often, you might know we have water issues. Our bills are outrageous. I try very hard to use as little city water as possible. I never really gave storm water much thought other than being grateful that rain fills my rain barrels. All that changed today.

I spent eight hours in a watershed stewardship workshop today. So what the heck is a watershed? Is it the shed where you keep the water? Nope. Is it the outhouse? Nope, not so much. A watershed is an area of land where all of the water that is under it or drains off of it goes to the same place.

This workshops was focused on the Cedar Creek Watershed. It turns out I don't actually live in that watershed. We are in the Trinity River watershed. This is confusing as the Trinity river is part of the Ceder Creek Watershed. Confused yet?

I learned a lot. Looking at charts and maps, it seems that the biggest polluters are farming and ranching operations. Guess what the pollutants are? If you guessed sediment, fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides you would be right.

I also found out that compost can be bad for our watershed. If it is washed into the rivers and eventually to lakes, the nutrients can cause algae blooms and water plant overgrowth. In order to keep that compost in my garden and not washing out into the ditch, I am going to plant ornamental grasses all along the fence above the ditch. This should be pretty and functional. I just love it when being good ecologically speaking gives me an excuse to buy more plants.

Eight hours in a classroom setting is just too long for me. I felt like my head was going to explode. They covered a ton of information. If you have an opportunity to go to a workshop or lecture of this type, take advantage of it. It will change the way you think about water.

Got to give credit to Texas Agrilife Extension for putting on such a great program.