Water Resources

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.

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)