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Watershed Resources for Teachers and Students

Curricula ideas for the classroom and the field.

Basic Student Curricula

Classroom

  • Students identify a local watershed and delineate it on a topographic map.
  • Quantify land use, topography, slope, aspect, tributaries, watershed order (first, second, etc.).
  • Go to the EPA Surf Your Watershed site and get more detailed information about the watershed or the larger watershed it is part of.
  • Go to the Web and find precipitation data from the NCDC site and streamflow data from the USGS site for the watershed.
  • Plot streamflow and precipitation for a particular year.
  • Look at the correlation between precipitation and streamflow throughout the year.
  • Calculate evapotranspiration (precipitation minus streamflow) and determine what percent of precipitation goes to each on that watershed. Compare these numbers among different watersheds.
  • Download water quality data from the watershed from the USGS site and acid rain data from the NADP site. Discuss the water quality concerns of the watershed based on this data and where the pollutants may be originating.

Field

  • Use water quality kits to measure various chemical parameters in the stream and relate the results to watershed land use. Suggested tests: pH, alkalinity, nitrate, turbidity, chloride, temperature, dissolved oxygen, bacteria
  • Collect macroinvertbrates and compute a biotic index for the stream preferably up and downstream of major land use changes to show a difference.
  • Estimate stream flow using a floating object and compare estimated value to actual flows if the stream is monitored by the USGS (data online).