What's your Watershed?

by Bret Dishner, June 2014

300 words

1 page


Milwaukee Watershed

A watershed refers to a land area that catches snow and rain and seeps into a lake, river or stream (Potter and Frevent, 489). The size of an area determines watershed form. The classifications of watershed include micro watershed, which covers up to 10 ha and mini watershed covering 200 ha. Others include sub watershed covering 4000 ha, watershed covering 10, 000 ha and river basin covering above 10, 000 ha. Milwaukee is a river basin watershed. It covers over 10, 000 ha (Potter and Frevent, 489).

Milwaukee watershed is a piece land drained by River Milwaukee and its streams. It holds the land surface drained and dissected by creeks and streams that flow downhill into river Milwaukee. Milwaukee watershed sends water falling around it into Milwaukee River and eventually to Lake Michigan and Pacific Ocean (Potter and Frevent, 490).

Milwaukee river watershed covers 685 square miles of land (Wisconsin and Burzynski, 20). It contains rivers, lakes, streams and groundwater (Potter and Frevent, 490). When it rains the waters passes through the pavement and the land collecting substances and sediments. The water then progresses to streams, to rivers and finally ending up in Lake Michigan. The water that does not runoff into streams and rivers gets into the soil saturating the ground with water and forming wetlands. This watershed holds an ecosystem that encompasses wildlife and plants (Potter and Frevent, 490).

Industrial and commercial activities affect the watershed through releasing chemicals and toxins into the environment. Toxins released in the air find their way into the water via rain cycles. The sediment of Milwaukee river watershed gets contaminations from toxins such as mercury (Wisconsin and Burzynski, 20). Construction of houses, animal waste, agricultural activities, herbicides and pesticides and run off from unreceptive surfaces affect the health of the river basin. With the expansion of cities and natural habitat that allows streets and building, strain the environment consequently altering the watershed and its effects affect the ecosystem.

Groundwater refers to water found underground in the spaces and cracks in soil, rock and sand. Milwaukee watershed has a hydrologic groundwater (Wisconsin and Burzynski, 20). The population living in Milwaukee gets water from shallow aquifers given that Cambrian sandstone aquifer stores its groundwater (Wisconsin and Burzynski, 20). Urban areas runoff, agriculture and floodplain development, are substantial contributors of environmental concerns around Milwaukee River basin watershed.

Work Cited

Potter, Kenneth, Frevent, Donald. Watershed management 2010: Innovations in watershed management under landuse and climate control. Michigan: ASCE Publications, Nov 30, 2010.

Wisconsin.Dept.of natural resources, Burzynski, Marsha. The state of Milwaukee river basin. New York: Dept. of Natural Resources, …

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