Planning & Zoning
Our Watershed
What is a Watershed?

A watershed is an area of land that drains into a common body of water, such as a nearby creek, stream, river or lake. Watersheds vary considerably in size. For example, when it rains, all the water from a small watershed may travel to a local creek. That creek, like Little Sugar Creek, will flow into a larger stream, which in turn collects water from an even larger watershed. Little Sugar Creek flows into the Little Miami River, which then deposits into the Ohio River. We all live in a watershed.
What is the problem?

During the construction of homes, roads and office buildings, vegetation is often removed and replaced by large paved areas. These impervious surfaces keep rain from seeping into the soil and recharging groundwater supplies. Paved surfaces also increase the speed and amount of water that rushes down gutters and into storm drains during a rain storm. This stormwater runoff picks up pollutants from motor oil, lawn chemicals, pet waste, salt, litter and soil along the way, before flowing to rivers, lakes and streams - untreated.


What is the consequence?

The large amounts of untreated water entering the storm sewer system – and eventually our streams and lakes – has lasting health, safety, environmental and economic impacts on our watersheds and communities. Watersheds support a wide variety of plants and wildlife and provide outdoor recreation opportunities throughout the Miami Valley.

Protecting the health of our watersheds preserves and enhances the quality of life for Miami Valley residents and all those living downstream.

Thinking about watersheds helps remind us that our actions can impact - for better or for worse - all of the streams and rivers in our region.
What are the pollutants?

Oil, litter, pesticides, fertilizers, soil and animal waste are common, potential contaminates to water supplies. These items can be carried via wind or attach themselves to raindrops and travel downstream to settle in the water supply.

  • Oil has a variety of sources, but many of the oil particulates come from parking lots, driveways and roadways where oil is dripped onto the surface. Oil droplets are picked up by rain drops and carried into fresh water supplies. One drop of oil contaminates many gallons of water.
  • Litter, whether paper, plastic, glass or metal, ends up in all kinds of places. It not only looks bad, but can strangle wildlife. Most litter biodegrades extremely slowly (100 to 500 years), leaving us to pick it up and dispose of it properly or look at it for extended periods of time.
  • Pesticides and fertilizers used in the wrong concentrations, and depending on weather conditions, can cause damage to things that were not the intended target. Sprays easily drift during windy applications, and excess liquid products are picked up and carried by water molecules during rainy conditions.
  • Exposed soil actually is the number one water pollutant in the state of Ohio. Development and land use changes of many kinds leave soil exposed and it too is carried by wind and water to downstream locations. Soil depositing in the bottom of a stream will aid in starving the bottom feeders and suffocating the bottom dwellers. This ultimately upsets the balance in the entire riparian ecosystem.
  • Animal waste, as a pollutant, is self-explanatory.

What are some solutions?
Buffers, filter strips, stream stabilization, having vegetative cover all year long and the planting of native plants are just some of the conservation practices we can use to decrease local watershed pollution. By trapping soil particles with attached water molecules and contaminants, and allowing them to filter out or biodegrade in the soil, these various types of buffers help to keep our watersheds clean.

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