PugetSoundStartsHere_10-01-15_Tab - page 2

When you think of the words “water pollution”, what images come to
mind? If you pictured cans, Styrofoam and other trash in the ocean,
you’re on the right track. But did you know that not all pollutants are
throwaway items, and most of them are invisible to the naked eye?
In fact, many of the pollutants in our waterways come directly from
our neighborhoods, homes, yards and vehicles. How could someone’s
street or yard be connected to a stream or Puget Sound even if it is
miles away?
What is a
A watershed is an area of land that drains to a
particular body of water. It’s kind of like your
bathtub. All of the water that falls within its inside
edges eventually flows to the same drain.
No matter where you’re standing, you are in
a watershed. Your home is likely within the
watershed of a small neighborhood stream. Do you
know the name of your neighborhood stream?
Your home’s watershed may also be part of
the Cedar River, Sammamish River and Lake
Washington watershed, a much larger watershed
that stretches from the Cascade Mountains
through many cities.
On an even larger scale, you are part of the Puget
Sound Watershed, which covers 1.6 million acres
(2,500 square miles), including 12 counties and
approximately 4.3 million people! It stretches from
the Cascade Mountains in the east to the Olympic
Mountains in the west, the Canadian border in the
north and Mt. Rainier in the south.
Watershed boundaries are defined by the elevation
of the land, with the highest elevation points,
mountain ridges and hills, marking the boundary
of a watershed.
Land is a very important part of water quality. How
water flows across the land and what it picks up
along the way has a critical impact on all of the
bodies of water downstream.
How is a watershed
like a bathtub?
Look at some maps online to see if you
can figure out the name of the stream or
lake closest to your home. Is it different
from the stream or lake that’s nearest
your school?
Lake Washington
Puget Sound
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