We all live and work in a watershed. Once a single drop of rain reaches the earth, it’s eventual journey is determined by the ‘watershed’ in which it lands. A watershed is defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as ‘the geographic region within which water drains into a particular river, stream, or body of water”. A small puddle in an open field area reflects a tiny, localized watershed. As we get to an urbanized area, each neighborhood represents a watershed area defined by gradual changes in land elevations resulting from natural contours as well as man-made roadways, curb and gutter, embankments and berms. On a regional scale, hills and valleys may create a watershed that is drained by a network of small drainageways, each forming a tributary to the larger stream, creek or river, all of which ultimately end at a lake or reservoir, forming a larger watershed.
No matter where you are in a watershed, what you do affects the entire water system. Collectively, our behaviors can have a profound influence on water quality. The education of people about their role in influencing water quality on a neighborhood watershed scale is the main theme of the SPLASH groups education program. Much more needs to be learned about the best ways to control pollution sources, how to promote stewardship in neighborhoods, and adopt better water quality stewardship practices at home and at work. SPLASH’s Education page has some ideas to get us all started as we make this stewardship journey together.
The watershed that all of the streams, creeks, and rivers drain to in the metro Denver area is the South Platte watershed. The two watershed basins that SPLASH members are stewards for include the Cherry Creek upper and lower watershed basins and the Chatfield basin.
The Cherry Creek Watershed
The upper Cherry Creek watershed includes approximately 245,500 acres and 32 sub-watersheds. The northern portion of the watershed has been urbanizing over the the past twenty years, especially in the subwatersheds immediately adjacent to the Cherry Creek Reservoir. SPLASH members Arapahoe County, the City of Centennial, Greenwood Village and Glendale are jurisdictions within the Cherry Creek watershed.
The Chatfield Basin
Because of its beautiful scenery, trails, and proximity, more than 3 million people annually visit the over 42,000 acres now protected for conservation and recreation within Chatfield Basin. Plum Creek flows through a part of Chatfield Basin. Chatfield Watershed consists of all portions of Plum Creek and its tributaries, and the South Platte Riverdownstream of Strontia Springs Reservoir outfall.
Southeast Metro Stormwater Authority (SEMSWA) including Centennial, Inverness WSD, and East Cherry Creek Valley WSD.Arapahoe County.Littleton.Glendale.Greenwood Village.Cherry Hills Village.Columbine Valley.Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority (ACWWA).E-470 Authority.Goldsmith Metro District.Colorado Department of Transportation