Nature and Environment

Because at 160,000 years, the party is just getting started.

Add to My MSN

What Are Headwater Streams?

12/27/2013 3:26:00 PM

Tags: water, streams, rivers, environment, Earth Gauge, Washington D.C.

Headwater streams are small streams or tributaries that carry water from the upper reaches of a watershed to a river.  They are the beginnings of an interconnected stream network that eventually combine and form bigger streams and rivers downstream.  Many of these headwaters are fed by rainfall, runoff and underground waters, and may not flow year-round.  Even though they often appear insignificant and some are so small you could jump across them, they are very important to downstream river, lake and estuary ecosystems. Among other benefits, headwater streams retain flood waters and reduce the amount of pollutants making their way to waters downstream.

Viewer Tip: A stream is a stream, no matter how small it is or how frequently it flows.  A river can be fed by different types of headwater streams: some flow year-round, some flow several months during the year and some flow at the Earth’s surface only periodically.  Just because a stream is small and does not flow year-round doesn’t mean it can’t have a big impact on the health of streams or rivers downstream.  Protecting all kinds of waters upstream will help protect waters downstream.  Learn more about different types of streams and their importance.

(Sources: EPA, “Little Streams, Big Impact,” www.epa.gov/sciencematters/january2011/little-stream.htm; Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District, “Headwater Streams.”)



Related Content

The New Earthineer

From the outset, Earthineer was built to support and promote sustainability and homesteading as a li...

The Sacred Headwaters: Goliath Defeated by 1,000 Davids

People took a stand against one of the largest multi-national oil companies in the world and resolve...

From the Trees to the Seas

Plant life along small streams starts a food chain that stretches all the way to the ocean.

Urban Meat, Part II: Pigs

Pigs can be a great source of healthy and humanely-raised meat in an urban setting thriving on the l...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 










Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.