Environmental FAQs

What is a Watershed?

A watershed carries water "shed" from the land after rain falls and snow melts. Drop by drop, water is channeled into soils, groundwaters, creeks, and streams, making its way to larger rivers and eventually the sea.

What is an Estuary?

Estuaries are bodies of water along our coasts that are formed when fresh water from rivers flows into and mixes with salt water from the ocean.  This mixing of fresh and salt water creates a unique environment that brims with life of all kinds -- a transition zone between the land and sea known as an estuary. The estuary gathers and holds an abundance of life-giving nutrients from the land and from the ocean, forming an ecosystem that contains more life per square inch than the richest Midwest farmland.

What is a Jubilee?

A Jubilee is a phenomenon that occurs when shallow water is pushed offshore for a short time, exposing and trapping thousands of sea creatures in its wake. Locals have a good sense of when the Jubilee is about to happen and rush to the shore armed with gigs, buckets and nets. Crabs, scallops, flounder, shrimp, and any number of types of sea life are uncovered and ripe for the taking.

What is the Clean Water Act?

The Clean Water Act was established in 1977 and provides the basic structure for regulating the discharge of pollutants into the water of the U.S. The Act gave the EPA the authority to implement pollution control programs like setting wastewater standards. The Act also made it illegal to discharge wastewater without a permit.  

What is the Safe Drinking Water Act?

The Safe Drinking Water Act was established in 1974 and authorized the EPA to set health-based standards for drinking water to protect against naturally-occurring and man-made contamination that may be found in drinking water.

What is Non-Point Source Pollution?

Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution is caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants, depositing them into waterways. These pollutants include: fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, oil, grease, sediment from construction sites or erosion, bacteria, and nutrients from agriculture, livestock, etc.

What is Point Source Pollution?

Point source pollution occurs when pollutants are discharged from a source such as a pipe, ditch, container, factory, wastewater treatment facility, or boat. Permits are issued under guidelines from the Clean Water Act to regulate the amount of pollutants that can be discharged into our waterways.

What Can I do to help?

Be involved – Join organizations in your community.
Report Violations – What you see is important!
Let your voice be heard – Write letters & make calls. Your elected officials work for you!