Watersheds in Marin County
A watershed is all of the land that drains to a particular stream, river, or bay. All land, from the wildest preserve to the most densely developed urban neighborhood, is part of a watershed. Learn more about your watershed using the Creeks and Watersheds Interactive Map.
Healthy watersheds work hard and provide food and fiber, clean water, and habitat for native plants and animals. They move sediment from the mountains to the beaches and bays, sorting it along the way to create diverse landscapes and habitats. They cycle nutrients and convert them into forms that living organisms can use. They purify and store water, and then
meter its release into streams to reduce flooding and damaging erosion in the winter and to sustain flows and cool temperatures during the dry season. They even affect air quality by absorbing pollutants and greenhouse gases.
Well-functioning watersheds are more resilient to natural and human-induced disturbances than highly-impacted watersheds.
Plants and Wildlife in Marin's Watersheds range from red-tailed hawks and mountain lions on the slopes of Mount Tam to oysters and harbor seals in the bays and on the coast. A diversity of wildlife inhabits Marin County. Discover more about Plants and Wildlife in Marin's Watersheds that depend on healthy watersheds to survive.
Climate Change projections predict a mean sea level rise of approximately a meter by 2100 which will lead to increased flooding at lower elevations. Climate change projections also include fluctuations in temperature, the potential for more frequent periods of drought, and the likelihood of intense storm events happening more often. These changes are likely to have an impact on riparian vegetation composition and density, as well as the frequency and erosive power of high flow events. Explore the Marin Sea Level Rise page to learn more. For an interactive game see "The Game of Floods" a public education activity on sea level rise developed for high school students and community members. The activity includes traditional flood protection measures such as levees and seawalls; green infrastructure approaches including horizontal levees, wetland restorations, and beach nourishment; and policy/zoning changes. The Community Development Agency staff can provide the board and materials to any local jurisdiction, non-profit, or other group interested in hosting an event, or game night. For more information, contact the Marin Sea Level Rise Team.
Water Cycles from other agencies and educational institutions
Water flowing through our watersheds returns through the process of the water cycle. Earth recycles the limited supply of water in an endless exchange through evaporation, condensation, precipitation and collection. Explore the follow websites to discover more.
Water Cycle Video - NOAA National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration
Interactive Water Cycle - United States Geological Survey USGS
Interactive water Cycle - Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Thirstin’s Water Cycle EPA - Animated water cycle
Water cycle with activities on Evaporation, Precipitation, Saturation, etc - Washington State University
The Water Cycle and earth observations - National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA Earth Observatory
Description of the Hydrologic Cycle - NOAA Northwest River Forecast Center provides explanations of evaporation, condensation, precipitation, interception, infiltration, percolation, transpiration, runoff, and storage Water as a resource
Games, Activities, and Illustrations - US EPA Kid's Stuff page for Grades K - 12