Watersheds and the Cycles of Matter

byRaphael Varnado

Watersheds are areas of land that drain rain, water, or snow into one location such as a stream, lake or wetland. It is a subject that has a number of interconnected parts that rely and function together to maintain the health of the watershed. In order to understand how watersheds behave and the impact they can have on the environment and how our actions affect them, one needs to understand the budgets of water, carbon, phosphorous, and nitrogen within watersheds. We will first breakdown the idea of the watershed into the cycles that make it up. From there, we will look at the environmental impact that each cycle has and how human involvement can affect the life forms that live within the cycles. Watersheds have the important roles of supplying water and food to the surrounding population. Learning more about how they function and becoming knowledgeable about the ways we can preserve and protect watersheds is a good way the preserve and keep up a high quality of life.

(Developed for Phy-Chem, grade 9; recommended for Environmental Science, grades 9-10)

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