Wetlands form the transition zone between dry land and bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, or bays. Both tidal and nontidal wetlands perform important water quality functions, including regulating runoff by storing flood waters; reducing erosion by slowing down run-off; maintaining water quality by filtering sediments, trapping nutrients, and breaking down pollutants; and recharging groundwater. They also provide food and shelter for wildlife and fish and nesting and resting areas for migratory birds.
- Living Systems
The student will investigate and understand the natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems. Key concepts include a) the health of ecosystems and the abiotic factors of a watershed; b) the location and structure of Virginia’s regional watershed systems; c) divides, tributaries, river systems, and river and stream processes; d) wetlands; e) estuaries; f) major conservation, health, and safety issues associated with watersheds; and g) water monitoring and analysis using field equipment including hand-held technology.