As I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t grow up in Nevada. I grew up a stone’s throw away from the Missouri River in North central Montana. I learned about watersheds as a kid in the Missouri River Watershed, arguably the largest watershed in the country. My watershed drained water all the way from Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota to where the Missouri joins the Mississippi in St Louis. I said arguably because some say that the Missouri was improperly named a tributary of the Mississippi River when in reality, the Upper Mississippi is the tributary and what we know today as the Missouri is actually the main stem of the river system. Either way it is a huge watershed, which eventually drains water into the Gulf of Mexico. Living now in Elko and having the responsibility to teach kids about the importance of protecting our Humboldt River Basin Watershed, I don’t take that responsibility lightly. Compared with my home watershed the Humboldt River drains a much smaller acreage of land, however, all of the sediment and pollution washed downstream in our watershed all collects near Lovelock at the Humboldt Sink. It is never washed to that mysterious place we call other, but is deposited near Lovelock where it will stay for thousands of years until some catastrophic event eventually changes the large-scale geography of Nevada. Therefore, it is important, vital I would say that we care for our watershed. It is the only one we have.
In addition to hosting watershed field trips for the 2nd grade students in Spring Creek and Elko, the Nevada Outdoor School, in partnership with the City of Elko and the Downtown Businesses Association, is currently engaged in a community awareness campaign urging our citizens to keep our storm drains clean. If you were not previously aware, water that flows into our storm drains then flows directly into the Humboldt River without being cleaned. That means that any car fluids, sediments, chemicals, and trash that is on our roads eventually is washed into our storm drains and into our river. So we must stop those things from “flowing down the drain.” Soon you will see some new art popping up in Elko. As a method of public awareness, a few storm drains in the downtown corridor will be painted to educate the public to our cause. Please help us be part of the solution. What kinds of fish could live in the Humboldt River if we took care of it?