Estuary and the Watershed - San Francisco Bay

Estuary background image with color overlay


In this activity, students investigate a large watershed and estuary, looking for sources of pollution and studying the impacts of a rainstorm, without going on a field trip. Students begin by examining the San Francisco Estuary using Google Maps (Part 1) and identifying possible sources of pollution and contamination along the major rivers that feed into the estuary (Part 2). Students also examine graphs of water quality data from the estuary and identify changes that occur because of a storm event (Part 3).

This activity consists of three parts that help deepen understanding of estuary systems

  1. Part 1: Exploring the San Francisco Watershed
  2. Part 2: What’s Upstream Comes Downstream
  3. Part 3: Water Quality at the Mouth of the Watershed

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Students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a more complete understanding of watersheds.
  • Identify and articulate connections between land use in the watershed and water quality in rivers and estuaries.
  • Analyze and interpret water quality graphs to understand how a storm impacts water quality in the San Francisco Estuary.

Estuary and the Watershed - San Francisco Bay: Supporting Resources

Watershed Demo


Drop by Drop to the Sea