Watersheds and Divides in Virginia
Travel feed: Harpers Ferry. From Review: Bring your walking shoes! of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is indeed one of the crown. The Potomac River is located within the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States and flows from .. When detailed studies were issued by the Corps in the s, they met Ridge Mountain) at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. American brook lamprey Lampetra appendix; Sea lamprey Petromyzon . On its way from the mountains to the ocean, it runs through West Virginia, The Potomac River was a meeting place for American Indians long before Canada geese can be seen along the edges of the Shenandoah Canal.
After a rainstorm, the divide gets driest first as the water drains away. The high spot, the divide is where customers walk to avoid the puddles at the end of a storm. The ridgetops, the watershed divides on those peninsulas are low in elevation, but they are slightly higher than the adjacent land.
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- Potomac River
Farmers who wanted to avoid getting stuck in the mud understood that the original dirt roads would dry quickest at the top of the ridge. US Geological Survey Williamsburg 1: East of the highway, most of the streams drain directly to the Atlantic Ocean.
Most farmland west of US 13 is located in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, where farming practices are affected by efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. Virginia must meet Total Maximum Daily Load TMDL water pollution requirements, reducing runoff of nutrients nitrogen and phosphorous and sediments into the bay - so the watershed divide is a key feature on the Eastern Shore.
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Virginia Hydrologic Unit Explorer on the Eastern Shore, much of Route 13 follows the watershed divide, and the route helped the original dirt road dry quickly as well as minimize the number of bridges across creeks Source: The initial road builders chose the relatively-high ridges in part to avoid the cost of building bridges over large creeks, and in part to locate the dirt roads where they would dry quickly after a rain so farm wagons would not get stuck in the mud.
Parking lots look flat, without a sharp "knife's edge" of mountains separating the valleys. Follow the rain as it flows down, however, and the different watersheds associated with different drains will become obvious. Roads have a "crown" in the middle to facilitate drainage. Athletic fields used for football and soccer games also have a slight rise in the middle, so water will drain away to the sides rather than pool in the center of the field. There is a tiny watershed divide in the middle of the athletic field in every stadium.
A watershed is the area drained by a stream. Rainfall flows off the impervious surfaces on campus into Rabbit Run, which joins Pohick Creek, which flows into the Potomac River.
The Potomac River Flows Through Cities, History
The Prince William campus is in the Occoquan River watershed. Rainwater that falls on the roof of the GMU buildings at the Prince William campus will end up flowing under Freedom Center Boulevard, through the stormwater pond at the Northern Laboratory of the Department of Forensic Science, and down Cannon Branch to the stormwater ponds at the Route Route 28 intersection near the Manassas airport.
When rainfall is sufficient, those ponds will release water into the downstream portion of Cannon Branch, which flows into Broad Run. The raindrops that flow over the dam will continue downstream to the next dam which formed the Occoquan Reservoir, then over that dam and under I to the Potomac River, and ultimately get to the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. With all the concrete and asphalt in that urbanized area, it is hard to see the natural topography and hard to recognize watershed boundaries.
Hikers who walk across a divide will go uphill to the top of the divide, and then downhill on the other side. Rainwater goes only in one direction, downhill. Rain that lands on the ridge will flow down one side into one watershed, ending up in a particular stream.
Rain landing just a little bit away on the divide will flow down the other side of the ridge, and end up in a different stream. For example, rainfall that lands at the top of the Blue Ridge does not sit there, accumulating on the surface in natural lakes.
Rainfall flows downhill to the east or to the west.
Shenandoah River - Wikipedia
Under the force of gravity, raindrops move initially in "sheet flow" across the surface most obvious in parking lots In Virginia, there is no consistent logical distinction in size or other characteristics between branches, creeks, streams, or runs.
Hogcamp Branch is in the headwaters and in the watershed of each of those rivers downstream.
A raindrop landing at Big Meadows will move 3. US Geological Survey USGSNational Atlas - Streamer Rainfall that lands on the parking lot for the Big Meadows lodge, campground, and picnic area west of Skyline Drive will flow westward across the pavement and the land into small rivulets that have been etched into the hillside after eons of erosion.
Those creeks flow down the west face of the mountain, into the Page Valley, and then into the South Fork of the Shenandoah River at Luray. The mouth of Little Hawksbill Creek and the South Fork of the Shenandoah River in one of many "confluences" with tributaries, increasing the volume of the water flowing down the South Fork of the Shenandoah River.
Big Meadows and the lodge in Shenandoah National Park is at the watershed divide, at the headwaters of different streams that flow downhill in multiple directions Source: Green trees cover the mountains on either side. Round white clouds hang low against a blue sky.
It looks very peaceful. A Place of Rebellion But this area is not known for peace. Inthe United States was close to civil war between the northern and southern states.
The federal government stored weapons at Harpers Ferry. John Brown and 18 of his supporters captured the storage center. However, federal troops recaptured it the next day. Brown was later hanged. But his name was made famous forever by American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson wrote that although Brown had died, his spirit would march on. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Today the park welcomes visitors who come to learn about life along the Potomac River.
Bird-watching is a favorite activity in the park, where more than bird species have been identified. Great blue herons populate a part of the historic area, and Canada geese can be seen along the edges of the Shenandoah Canal. The park also has pileated woodpeckers and Baltimore orioles. Most of the time we sail smoothly down the Potomac.
But sometimes the river is wild.
Potomac River - Wikipedia
George Washington understood that the Potomac was difficult to travel on, even for much bigger boats than the canoe. He proposed a waterway to avoid dangerous areas along the Potomac. But he did not live to see it built.
Washington died in The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal was built more than 25 years later. Over the years, continued flooding from the Potomac damaged the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.
Today it no longer carries goods. Kayaks and barges float on the waterway, passing through locks.
These devices close off the canal and use special gates to raise or lower the boats. They do this by raising or lowering the water level. The Towpath The area between the Potomac and the canal is called a towpath. Today we see families walking their dogs along the towpath. Other people are running or riding bicycles. Still others are fishing. Swimming is not permitted. Visitors to the towpath sometimes see brick ovens, or remains of brick ovens. A national park employee tells us that people who lost their homes during the Great Depression once warmed their meals in the ovens.
Now we are getting close to the city of Washington. Here the river begins to look dangerous. Signs warn boats away from the 24 kilometers of the Potomac Gorge. People leave their canoes to walk along the towpath.
Water moves fast in the gorge.
There are many rocks and waterfalls. The gorge begins above a large waterfall called Great Falls. Here the water drops to sea level. The gorge then extends to Theodore Roosevelt Island, named for America's 26th president.
A Great Blue Heron Here we may get a good look at a blue heron. This beautiful bird stands for a minute on a rock on one long, thin leg. An eagle spreads its wide wings in the sky, but does not land.
We Enter Washington We take land transportation to follow the river into America's capital. Washington, DC was built on low wetlands in