FAQs about Streams & Wetlands
Why do streams flood?
Many people think that flooding comes from a blockage downstream. But believe it or not, most flooding comes from upstream! Flooding usually happens because too much water is sent into a stream, causing the stream to overflow its banks. Changes in land use like adding more pavement, buildings, and even lawns in place of natural forest can cause water to run off quickly instead of seeping into the ground. It’s this runoff that causes flooding.
Why do streams and ponds turn green?
Excess algae and plant growth in water bodies usually happen when too many nutrients are in the water. One source of nutrients is fertilizers from lawns and gardens. Another source is faulty septic systems. The green growth in the water is more than a nuisance; it is actually robbing oxygen from the fish and other animals that live in the water.
CAC members present a watershed exhibit at Music in the Parks as part of Watershed Awareness Month 2009
Volunteers collect heaps of trash near Fall Kill Lake to keep the water clean (Photo by J. Rubbo)
Volunteers plant trees and shrubs to protect water quality at Greenfields Park
CAC member leads a Vernal Pool Walk to inform residents about these special ecosystems
Volunteers plant a stabilizing stream buffer at Dinsmore Park in Staatsburg
CAC members demonstrate how pollution concentrates in watersheds (Photo by J. Rubbo)
The Blandings turtle relies on complexes of specific wetland types throughout its life cycle
Why are wetlands important?
Woodland pools, wet meadows, forested swamps, and other wet areas are found throughout Hyde Park. These wetlands provide valuable services to the community:
- Wetlands hold snowmelt and rainwater, reducing floods.
- Wetlands filter water and return it to underground aquifers that supply our drinking water.
- Wetlands provide essential habitat for many types of wildlife, including migratory birds.
When it comes to wetlands, bigger isn't always better. Even the smallest wetlands can be valuable. To learn more about wetlands:
County Wetlands Data Guidebook (PDF)
Sierra Club: Wetlands at Risk (PDF)
Recommendations for Stream & Flood Management in Dutchess County (PDF)