Water is the most important substance in our everyday lives! Nature gives us pure water as a free service, but clean water depends on healthy plants to maintain water quality. A healthy stand of plants helps absorb rainfall, and soil water helps to maintain plant growth between rainfall events. When vegetation is removed and the soil exposed, soil can wash away, air pollutants can wash into streams, and groundwater supplies may diminish due to increased surface runoff. The presence of trees along streams and rivers, commonly called a “riparian buffer”, will trap nutrients that might otherwise run off the land into the streams. The trees also prevent erosion of the stream bank during high rainfall periods. Can you locate any areas of erosion on your school site or around your home? If so, what could you do to repair them?
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