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Glossary of Watershed Terms

  1. Watershed: The area of land where all the water drains to a common point, such as a river or lake.

  2. Musconetcong River: A tributary of the Delaware River located in northwestern New Jersey, known for its scenic beauty and ecological significance.

  3. Riparian Zone: The area of land adjacent to a river or stream that is influenced by its presence, often characterized by unique vegetation and wildlife.

  4. Erosion: The process of wearing away soil, rocks, or other materials by the action of water, wind, or other natural agents.

  5. Aquifer: An underground layer of permeable rock, gravel, or sand that contains water, which can be extracted for human use.

  6. Tributary: A smaller river or stream that flows into a larger river, contributing to its water volume.

  7. Wetland: A low-lying area of land saturated with water, such as swamps, marshes, or bogs, that supports unique plant and animal species.

  8. Floodplain: The flat area surrounding a river that is susceptible to periodic flooding, serving as a natural storage area for excess water.

  9. Watershed Management: The comprehensive approach to managing and protecting the land, water, and other resources within a watershed to ensure its long-term sustainability.

  10. Nonpoint Source Pollution: Pollution that originates from diffuse sources, such as runoff from agricultural fields or urban areas, rather than from a single identifiable source.

  11. Invasive Species: Non-native plant or animal species that disrupt the natural balance of an ecosystem, often outcompeting native species and causing harm to the environment.

  12. Fish Passage: The ability for fish and other aquatic organisms to migrate freely within a river system, facilitated by the presence of unobstructed pathways, such as fish ladders or bypass channels, around barriers like dams or culverts.

  13. Riparian Buffer: The vegetation and natural habitat along the banks of a river or stream that helps filter pollutants, stabilize the soil, provide shade, and support wildlife.

  14. Biodiversity: The variety of plant and animal species within a specific ecosystem or region, including genetic, species, and ecosystem diversity.

  15. Water Quality Standards: Established guidelines and criteria that define the acceptable level of pollutants and other parameters in water bodies to protect human health and the environment.

  16. Riparian Rights: Legal rights and responsibilities granted to landowners adjacent to a river or stream, governing their use and management of the water resources.

  17. Groundwater: Water present beneath the Earth's surface, stored in underground aquifers, and accessed through wells and springs.

  18. Ecological Restoration: The process of repairing and rehabilitating degraded ecosystems to their original or near-original conditions, often involving habitat restoration, species reintroduction, and ecosystem management.

  19. Stormwater Management: Practices and techniques employed to control and mitigate the negative impacts of stormwater runoff, including erosion, flooding, and pollution.

  20. Public Access: The provision of designated areas and facilities that allow the public to enjoy recreational activities such as fishing, boating, hiking, or picnicking along the river or within the watershed.

  21. Evaporation: The process by which water changes from a liquid state to a vapor or gas state due to heat energy from the sun.

  22. Condensation: The process of water vapor cooling and transforming back into liquid form, forming clouds or dew.

  23. Precipitation: The release of moisture from clouds in the form of rain, snow, sleet, or hail, which falls to the Earth's surface.

  24. Transpiration: The process by which water vapor is released into the atmosphere from plants and trees through their leaves.

  25. Infiltration: The movement of water from the surface into the soil or porous rock layers.

  26. Percolation: The slow movement of water through soil or porous rock layers deeper into the ground.

  27. Runoff: The water that flows over the land surface, either from rainfall or from melting snow or ice, into streams, rivers, and eventually into larger bodies of water.

  28. Groundwater Recharge: The process by which water from precipitation or surface water seeps down through the soil and replenishes underground aquifers.

  29. Sublimation: The direct conversion of water from its solid (ice) state to a gas (water vapor) state without passing through the liquid phase.

  30. Surface Water: Water found on the Earth's surface in lakes, rivers, streams, and other bodies of water.

  31. Water Table: The underground level below which the ground is saturated with water, representing the upper boundary of the groundwater.

  32. Desalination: The process of removing salt and other impurities from seawater to produce freshwater for human use.

  33. Aquifer Recharge: The replenishment of an aquifer with water, either naturally through infiltration or artificially through practices like water injection.

  34. Water Vapor: The gaseous form of water present in the atmosphere, formed through evaporation and transpiration.

  35. Snowmelt: The melting of snow and ice, usually occurring during warmer weather, which contributes to the runoff and water supply.

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