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Wetland Curriculum Resource
Unit 5. Environmental Issues -

(Level: 7 : 10 acad : 10 appl : 11 appl : 12 acad :: Action)

Purpose: To prepare a realistic proposal for the restoration of a degraded watershed.

What You Need: maps of degraded watershed :: maps of three sites


The stream contained within the watershed has been degraded or altered during the course of urbanization. The original headwaters have been drained and diverted to an adjacent watershed. Several areas of the creek have been moved underground or reduced to a roadside drainage ditch. Three distinctive sites within the watershed have been chosen to rehabilitate.

Site 1 (see map) is a grassy area located at the historical headwaters of the creek. The creek waters have been diverted to another watershed, and to the remaining creek. The area is prone to spring flooding, and salt and gasoline contamination from the adjacent highway. An elementary school is located on the north side of the lot.

Site 2 is a small lot bordered by two streets and a residence. Trees were planted on the site several years ago by a local school. Unfortunately, the city insists on cutting the grass, and on occasion, saplings have also been cut. Large concrete structures have been constructed where the stream enters and exists the lot.

Site 3 is a wetland. A highway separates the wetland from the historical headwaters. The area is also prone to contamination from the highway. A channel through the wetland was created to move the water through it. Continuous direct flushing of the wetland and a lowering of the water table has encouraged invasion by woody plants.

What You Do:

  1. Divide the class into small groups to prepare a realistic proposal to restore the three sites within the watershed. Each group will be a small consulting firm hired to prepare a proposal. Enlarge the maps provided and use them to illustrate the desired changes. Use a variety of colours and symbols (include a key) to demonstrate the changes.
  2. Students should consider wild life requirements, erosion control, flood control, and the surrounding community.
  3. The proposal should include a time line for the project, how the community can be involved, a budget, and possible ways of funding the project.
  4. Advanced students can include a list of species to be planted, and the function of each species (ie. does it provide shelter, food, erosion control, or shade).
  5. During a mock Town Council meeting, each "consulting firm" will present their proposal. The councillors will rate each proposal and determine which firm receives the contract for the watershed rehabilitation.

Taking Action in Your Community

This activity could developed based on an existing local wetland. What sort of development is planned for your community? How will it effect local wetlands? Are there improvements that can be made to lessen the negative effects? Students may wish to draw on their experiences or sources listed in Exercise 5.9, "Getting the Job Done - Adopt-a-Pond!" for help.

Click here to go back to the list of activities for this unit.


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