Watersheds, lakes, rivers,
is a water planet
Earth from outer space you would think that the water resources were so
plentiful that they could sustain all life forever. But, almost
all of Earth's water is the salty water of the oceans. This
water supports an incredible biodiversity of marine life, but humans and
land-dwelling animals cannot drink it, and we cannot water our crops
with it. Humans require fresh, clean water to drink, and can
survive for only about one week without it.
Only a very tiny portion of all the Earth's water is fresh water, and an
even smaller amount of the fresh water is available to us. Most of the fresh water is
locked up in frozen glaciers, in humidity, or fossil water way deep in the
"The water cycle manifests itself through many processes and phenomena,
such as clouds and precipitation; ocean-atmosphere, cryosphere-atmosphere,
and land-atmosphere interactions; mountain snow packs; groundwater; and
extreme events such as droughts and floods."
See graphic showing
Conceptualization of the Water Cycle (U.S. Global Change Research
AMERICAN RIVERS -
Working every day for healthy rivers, abundant fish and wildlife, and
thriving river communities.
||Click on U.S. map for a
look at the rivers in your region.
||The "Our Work" section
contains information on America's Most Endangered Rivers, Clean
Water, Dams, Wild Rivers, Sprawl, Water Scarcity, Endangered
Species, Rivers of Lewis and Clark, Puget Sound Rivers,
Community Watersheds, Army Corps Reform, and Science Advocacy.
River Ecology 101 - Headwaters,
Riparian areas, Instream flow, Wetlands, Floods and floodplains,
Estuaries, What's a watershed?, Pacific salmon (includes graphic
on the Problems for Salmon), American Shad, Clams and snails,
and Exotic species.
Photo album collections
Water Conservation Tips
River Facts and Primary Threats to
||Browse through the site
for lots more information about rivers, and take action to
protect our precious water resources.
SCIENCE FOR SCHOOLS (U.S. Geological Survey)
Water is essential to all life on Earth. What is water?
Where does it all come from? How much water is there on Earth? Where is
it located? Do you know where there are "rivers" of ice? Follow a
drop of water in the ocean and see how it gets recycled. Maps and pictures help to
explain everything there is to know about this precious resource. The U.S. Geological
Survey Dept. collects tons of data about how our nation uses water. Each one of us
is a part of that data, and we can all make a difference by helping to preserve and
protect our water resources.
CANADA: FRESHWATER WEB SITE (English and
"Water is the Lifeblood of the Earth"
Click on various links and use arrows
of Subjects for a quick subject search (i.e.,
Acid Rain, Pollutants, etc.)
Why do people call water a "renewable" resource? See
Frequently Asked Questions
Hydrologic Cycle graphic
World Water Supply - fresh and saline
(salty) - The very small white area of the top
of the world water column is fresh water, and the larger bottom green
portion is salty water. The magnified portion of the top part
(fresh water) shows approximately how much is surface water, snow and
ice, and groundwater.
WATER AND GROUND WATER - Kids Section
(U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
Learn about drinking water and safety standards. Conduct some safe
experiments. Click into activities and games and follow a drop of water from the source through the treatment process,
see the water cycle, read some facts about water.
Once you use water, is it gone?
How long can a person live without water?
Is it OK to drink from my garden hose?
Is bottled water safer than tap water?
Should you use hot water out of the tap for cooking or drinking?
What is the only natural substance found on earth that can be found in
solid, gas and liquid forms?
AND DON'TS AROUND THE HOME
Be part of
the solution, rather than part of the problem
Tips from the Environmental Protection Agency on what you can do to help
protect surface and ground waters.
RIVERS OF THE
"Atmospheric rivers" are part of the
complex global water cycle, formed as part of the hemispheric conveyor belt
that carries cold, dry Arctic air southward and warm, humid air from the
tropics northward. This system helps create storms in the Pacific
Ocean which transport moisture in the form of rain and snow to the western
United States. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric
is conducting research into the dynamics required to generate atmospheric
rivers. These studies will help in predicting weather, climate, and
the likelihood of floods. And, also help improve management of our
fresh water resources. See a satellite image of an atmospheric river
that caused flooding in the USA in 2004.
(Elementary through college-level)
Wonderful educational material
about streams and rivers, written by a biologist.
Learn about the Plants and Animals, River Flow, Habitats, Food Web, and the
interrelationships among ecosystems. The scientific method of study is
explained in the Science link. Click on Tell Me More links for more
information, and scroll all the way to the bottom of the pages so you won't miss anything.
A lake ecology primer from Water on the Web (WOW)
Limnology is the study of fresh or saline waters in lakes, ponds,
reservoirs, streams, rivers, wetlands and estuaries.
Learn about the physical, biological and chemical components of
lakes. Definitions are provided for underlined words by mousing
over the words (full glossary also available).
Groundwater Basics: Learn about
groundwater, its importance, how you can help protect it, the hydrologic
cycle (the water cycle), sources of contamination, and how water wells
work . Water glossary is provided.
Click into Kids Corner and meet G. W. Gecko, a pretty amazing
desert creature who is a natural at conserving water. Build an
aquifer that you can eat!
(An aquifer is an underground geological formation able to store and yield
usable water, generally found in rock, sand or gravel.)
(Water Education Foundation)
"Did you know that the water you drank this
morning might have been the same water a dinosaur drank millions of
WISER Conservation and
In the Watershed Game, you are responsible for making tough
decisions which will affect the watershed areas of the lakes, rivers and streams in
national parks, on farmlands, and in towns and cities. Answer the questions and see
if you score well enough to be an ecologist, or low enough to be a mosquito!
(Brought to you by Minnesota Ideas and Bell LIVE!)
HERITAGE RIVERS SYSTEM
In English and Français
RIVER SYSTEMS OF THE WORLD - Locations, length, drainage area, tributaries and
other distinctive qualities. Click on river names for more information and
learn about the health, history and people of the rivers.
RIVERS INVENTORY - NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
Over 3,400 free-flowing rivers with
"Outstandingly Remarkable" values
WILD AND SCENIC RIVERS ACT
- National Park Service
A brief history of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act
- Friends of the River
AMERICAN WATER WORKS ASSOCIATION
Water projects, activities, educational material, ways to
help conserve and protect your drinking water, riddles, and links to
online resources about drinking water.
Fresh Water - A
click on image
to continue on through Waterwebs
Resource links are found throughout the section
Also see additional information on Wetlands Resources
and other pages.