Friday, June 22, 2018

Focused on Watersheds

While birds and birding are the subjects of most posts in this blog, I am personally most interested in ecosystems and in the landscapes that they occupy.  Landscapes are the products of geology, tectonic forces and erosion, the latter occurring primarily by the action of water or ice.  Terrestrial ecosystems reflect the underlying geology and topography, the regional climate and the availability of water (in the form of precipitation or surface water brought in by streams).

It is with this knowledge that I focus on watersheds as I travel about our country or the globe and even pay close attention to them within my home cities.  Water, after all, is both essential to life and the primary architect of natural landscapes.  Understanding the regional topography requires that we know its component watersheds, from the main rivers to their smallest tributaries.

In the U.S., some States greatly assist our effort by using road signage to demarcate the watersheds (North Carolina and Tennessee come to mind) while other States fail to label all but their largest streams.  Others, like Colorado, compulsively label passes, streams and elevations but are lax when it comes to watersheds.  The more we understand our natural landscapes and ecosystems, the more committed we will be to protecting them.