By The Watershed Project staff
February is a short and sweet month when we celebrate Black history along with Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, and the lunar New Year, festivals that invite revelry and feasting. Fortunately there’s also President’s Day which gives us a day off to recover, and to explore our watersheds. Several of us here at The Watershed Project were interviewed about the ways we all love our watersheds. We were able to collectively pull out some themes and stories, which we share below (If you’d like to put a face to our staff names, visit our staff bio page here!):
Water brings life. Olivia loves how plants and animals, including humans, all owe their existence to water. Creeks are the arteries that move water through the landscape, while providing habitat. Helen loves the tiny creatures that live in creeks known as benthic macro invertebrates (BMI). Each spring The Watershed Project monitors BMI as part of its water quality monitoring program. Paula White and Dan both love the birds they see in their watersheds. The Bay Area is a fantastic place for birdwatching, and you don’t have to be an expert to appreciate them, or to contribute your wildlife observations to community science efforts.
Water shapes the land. In the arid west, plants help us know where the water is, and landforms help us understand where water has been. Even in the highly urbanized Bay Area where many creeks are now buried in storm drains, large trees such as redwoods mark both historical and present-day creek channels. Paula Urtecho loves ferns, shade and moisture-loving plants that thrive in the oak-bay woodland understory of her watershed. Juliana loves exploring Baxter creek with her son from its headwaters in the El Cerrito hills to the mouth, where it joins the San Francisco Bay at Stege Marsh in Richmond. Anne loves the rolling hills of her watershed, carved over centuries by water.
Water creates community. When asked where we live by someone who isn’t local, we often say the Bay area. This is shorthand for the San Francisco Bay, the large watershed that all of the smaller watersheds we live in are a part of. Whether we think about it or not, we identify our community by referencing the San Francisco Bay watershed. Kat loves her watershed because it’s her adopted home, and home is where the heart is.
What’s the name of your watershed? Basically, a watershed is named after the creek that drains the water from the high point of the watershed to the lower point, whether the creek is still flowing above ground or has been hidden underground and flows through the storm drain system. Here’s a great map tool you can use to figure it out.
The Watershed Project Team