Welcome to Environmental Inquiry: authentic scientific research for high school students  
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 Invasive Species
 Long-term Research
Current Location Arrow Watersheds
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 Assessing Toxic Risk
 Invasion Ecology
 Decay and Renewal
 Watershed Dynamics
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How do roadside ditches relate to streams?

Rivers and streams weave through the landscape, carrying runoff from storms along with groundwater that seeps in throughout the year. The amount and quality of water in a stream depends on the climate, soil, topography, and land use. Fish and other stream organisms are adapted to life under variable conditions, as water levels go up and down and the water becomes muddy and then more clear.

However, these changes occur more rapidly and to greater extremes when land gets developed in the watershed, creating more roads, parking lots, roofs, and other impervious surfaces. Water runs off these surfaces rapidly after storms, flowing through ditches and emptying into streams and lakes.

How do impervious surfaces affect water quantity and quality?
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