Water-Earth Dynamics, Challenge 2: Know Your Watershed

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board are collaborating on the development of watershed protection plans for Texas.

Your school has been asked to help these agencies by conducting a survey of the watershed in which you live.  To carry out your survey, you must do the following:

  1. Define the size and boundaries of the watershed, estimate the amount of precipitation that it collects, and identify the major stream draining the watershed and its tributaries.
  2. Determine the different uses of your watershed, its terrain, soil type, and wildlife, using Google Earth and available maps.  If possible, locate historical pictures that show how the watershed has changed over time.
  3. Conduct a survey of the water quality in your watershed.  You may use the Texas Water Development Board 2007 Water Plan on the TWDB Web site and the EPA Web site listed on the "Research and Revise" pages to find data that you can display in graphs or plots.
  4. Create a 10-year stream hydrograph for the major river that drains your watershed, using discharge data available from the USGS.

You will use different forms of media to present your survey to the agencies.

Products that would satisfy this challenge: maps, Google Earth images, and tours; pictures showing uses of the watershed (including recreation uses such as rowing on Lady Bird Lake), and how the watershed has changed over time; graphs and plots of water quality, stream discharge, and precipitation; a written report.  A graphic timeline showing how your watershed has changed over time would be very useful.  You could attach graphs and data of the water quality, stream discharge, and precipitation rates related to your watershed along the bottom of the timeline and annotate with photo images.


Printable version of the Rubric

Challenge 2 “Go Public” Products Highly ProficientCapableAdequateLimitedInadequate
 25 points20 points15 points10 points5 points
(1) Watershed characterization (maps and report) (25 points)          
(2) Watershed uses and timeline of changes over a selected period (25 points)          
(3) Water quality survey (graphs, plots, etc.) (25 points)          
(4) Stream hydrograph (25 points)