Water Quality Study

Watersheds and Water Quality

John Wesley Powell defined a watershed as “that area of land, a bounded hydrologic system, within which all living things are inextricably linked by their common water course and where, as humans settled, simple logic demanded that they become part of a community.” More simply put it is all of the land that drains into one body of water. (Click one of the images below to see larger images in a slideshow.)

Water Quality is measured by collecting samples and checking levels of nitrates, phosphates, and dissolved oxygen. Temperature and clarity are also monitored. Water quality is directly linked to the watershed of a body of water.

Importance of the Watershed

“We all live downstream” Streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans all connect. These bodies provide the water necessary for plants, animals, and people to live. Pollution of watersheds leads to pollution in these bodies of water and can have long term consequences. The use of DDT as a pesticide had devastating effects on the watersheds and ecosystems that the water supplied. The near extinction of the Bald Eagle was caused by the runoff off DDT and the subsequent watershed contamination.

Protecting Radnor Lake’s Watershed

Click the image to view the Radnor Lake Water Quality brochure

Click the image to view the Radnor Lake Water Quality brochure

The Radnor Lake Watershed Initiative was established in 2005 by the Friends of Radnor Lake and park staff. The purpose of this project was to monitor the long term water quality of Radnor Lake and to assist in the protection of lands found within the Radnor Lake watershed. The water shed (highlighted in blue on the map) consists of all the land that drains into Radnor Lake. This land is important to the conservation of Radnor’s ecosystem because any organic or inorganic compounds that the water picks up along the way will end up in the lake. These compounds include fertilizers and lawn chemicals, pet waste, oil and other petroleum products, pesticides, antifreeze, and debris from storm drains. Park staff collect samples from 12 separate sites around Radnor Lake and the streams that feed it in order to monitor the water quality of the lake.

What can you do to help?

  1. Don’t litter: do not discard trash, motor oil, mulch, grass clippings, leaves, paint, or other chemicals down storm drains. These materials are collected by rainwater and eventually end up in the lake. One quart of oil can contaminate up to 2 million gallons of water.
  2. Use Native Plants: native plants grow well in our region. They require less water than non-native species. Avoid the use of fertilizers or pesticides.
  3. Land Acquisition: acquisition of land within the watershed is the best way to protect Radnor Lake. The park’s goal is to monitor and maintain all property that affects the health of the lake. To support our land acquisition efforts, you can donate here.
  4. Clean up after your pets: pet waste contains nutrients and pathogens that contaminate the surface water.