Why Protect Watersheds?

As discussed in the watershed section, a watershed is not just a stream. A watershed is all of the land that funnels surface water into the water ways which often includes multiple creeks and tributaries. Several people, wildlife, fish, and plant species live in and depend on the land and water of a functional healthy watershed. Watersheds provide a number of resources to all people as well as the environment. The watersheds of San Mateo County provide water for agriculture and municipal water treatment plants, scenic and aesthetic value for recreation and ecotourism, hunting and fishing opportunities and more. From everyday city dwellers to the avid outdoors person, one can find a little of everything to enjoy from a healthy thriving watershed.

How to Protect Watersheds

One of the primary threats to a healthy watershed is water pollution. The storm drain infrastructures found beneath our roads and buildings were designed to divert excessive storm water from these these urban areas to nearby creeks and drainages. Unforunately these storm drain infrastructures also allow for pollutants to travel towards creeks and rivers. A water pollutant is essentially anything that is not stormwater. Examples include but are not to limited to: tap water, soil, paint, soap, and garbage. A good rule of thumb is to only let storm water into the storm drain. Here is a quick list of actions you can take to protect your local watershed.

  • Avoid washing vehicles on the street with phosphate based soap products.
    • More than likely there is a storm drain system on the road that will carry the soap and water into the nearby creek or drainage.
  • Only let storm water in the storm drain.
    • The creeks and waterways in a watershed function as multiple ecosystems.
  • Choose native plants for the garden or landscaping.
    • Native plants are adapted to the climate and environmental conditions of San Mateo County. Non-native plants will often require more watering, fertilizer, and care.