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Water Conservationists Take on Watts Branch Stream

March 22, 2013 Green Blog No Comments


Annita Seckinger, Watts Branch founder

Annita Seckinger, Watts Branch founder







March 22, 2013

Gaithersburg, Md

Intro by: Alex Stavitsky-Zeineddin

By: Annita Seckinger, founder of Watts Branch watershed group

This continues the series introducing the different watershed groups in Montgomery County, Md that are working on improving the quality of the local waterways.

“Water is the most critical resource issue of our lifetime
and our children’s lifetime.   The health of our waters is
the principal measure of how we live on the land.”
                                                                 ~  Luna Leopold

I have been in love with the water every since I was a kid. According to my mom, it was impossible for me to walk by so much as a puddle without jumping in.

Last year I attended a water conference in Silver Spring, Md.  I found out that Watts Branch, the watershed in which I live, had no champion. All the watersheds around had organizations to look out for them, but not poor Watts.  So, with a lot of help from Paul Hlavinka of the Muddy Branch Alliance, Watts Branch Watershed Alliance was born.

The Watts Branch watershed is a 22 square mile area located in southern Montgomery County, Md that originates in Rockville, It is roughly bounded by Travilah Road, River Road and Falls Road down to the Potomac. Its waters flow from its headwaters in the City of Rockville to the Potomac River, and from there, the Chesapeake Bay.

Watts Branch Watershed Alliance is a brand new organization (our web-site will be launching soon), created to clean, protect and care for this wonderful watershed. It should be noted however, that Watts Branch was not always an uncared-for little stream. From 1953 to 1999, Luna Leopold, a leading U.S. geomorphologist and hydrologist, and the son of Aldo Leopold, maintained a continuous record of its physical changes. He chose this river and its small basin because it had been the spot where, years earlier, he had taken his children on picnics. Leopold wrote that over time, suburban growth resulted in a basin filled with “muddy trash heaps” and “the little stream … littered with bricks, concrete, trash, plastic bottles, and old tires.”

Fortunately over the last few years, Watts Branch water quality has improved some due to the attention of concerned individuals, but it still has a very long way to go.

Help keep this stream and it surrounding areas clean and safe. Not only would it be great for children to be able to play in the streams that run though our parks and back yards again (remember?), but because, as mentioned above, all these smaller waterways flow to the Potomac and then eventually in to the Bay. Find your watershed. Volunteer. Help your friends and family protect your watershed. In doing so, you help save the Potomac and the Chesapeake Bay as a source of clean food and recreation for generations to come.


Annita Seckinger

President, Watts Branch Watershed Alliance






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