Mississippi River Watershed
Did you know that the Mississippi River provides drainage for 41 percent of the continental United States? This means that if a single drop of rain falls anywhere in this area, which includes all or part of 31 states and two Canadian provinces, it becomes a part of the Mississippi River Watershed. The fate of this single drop of water then depends on several factors. If the ground is not saturated, the water will be pulled downward into the soil by gravity, where it becomes available for plants or recharges groundwater supplies. If the soil is saturated or if the water drop falls on some type of impervious surface such as rooftops, concrete or asphalt, the droplet will travel above the surface towards the nearest stream or body of water. As this drop of rain flows across the surface, it encounters a slew of possible contaminants including, but not limited to gasoline, pesticides, pet waste and fertilizers.
Viewer Tip: No matter where you are in a watershed, what you do on your property can affect the overall hydrologic system. An easy way to protect water quality at home is to keep rain water on your property by directing downspouts onto a lawn or grassy area, away from driveways and sidewalks.
You can learn more about the watershed you live in, both at a local and regional scale, by contacting your local Department of Natural Resources office or visiting their website.
This information is provided by Living Lands and Waters. Learn more at www.livinglandsandwaters.org.