Nature Awareness #4

(Explain where your household water comes from; what waterway is nearest to your home, and where its source is; where it drains; if there are any large bodies of water (lakes, ocean) near your home; what you know about the quality of water in your region; and what the major concerns in your area regarding your water supply are. Minimum 300 words)

Our household water comes from a 17 foot well set at the corner of our house. There is also an unnamed creek in our back yard that feeds into Rock Creek in Gettysburg and appears to come from an underground spring (as well as road spill-off). There are several surrounding streams nearby (50 in Adams County alone), but none seem to feed directly (from above-ground) into ours, though I’m sure the waterways underground do.

Rock Creek eventually feeds into the Monocacy River in Maryland, which eventually feeds into the Potomac River, which feeds into the Chesapeake Bay, which feeds into the Atlantic Ocean. Hard to believe that my little tiny stream here makes its way out all the way to the ocean from Gettysburg.

On a more mid-atlantic scale, the physiographic province that Gettysburg is located on (and oddly enough this is the same province I lived in when I started the CTP in Maryland), is the Piedmont Province. More specifically, I am in the Gettysburg-Newark Lowland Section of the Piedmont Province. This area is mainly rolling low hills developed on red sedimentary rock. The general drainage pattern is dendritic, or branched like a tree, and elevations are generally 100-200 feet (600 feet in some isolated hills, but Gettysburg as a whole ranges from 400-1000 feet above sea-level). This sedimentary rock in the area came from a narrow, inland dip that formed when North American and Africa separated more than 200 million years ago.

A lot of times after a heavy rain, we’ll see some trash spill over onto the banks of our stream. Chip bags or soft-drink containers. My cousin who has lived up here for years seems to think it’s from the campground up the way, but the stream that goes through there feeds into another leg of water that feeds into rock creek, which is downstream from us. So the trash could not come from there. My guess is it’s mostly from trash thrown on the side of the road, which is very very sad.

Besides a few small ponds that dot the countryside here, the next biggest body of water closest to me is called Lake Heritage. It appears to be a rather high-end community of lake-side homes, but I am unsure whether it feeds into my stream underground, I highly doubt it.

When researching local water concerns in the Gettysburg area, I was put in contact with the PA Department of Environmental Protection, specifically the Watershed Management Program. Through them I learned a lot of the biggest concerns locally are sediment and nutrients from local agriculture. These usually lead to increased nitrogen and phosphorus in the streams which cause algae growth which can deplete the amount of oxygen in the water, endangering aquatic life. It also affects the aquatic insects because it lays on the bottom of the stream as well, which covers their living spaces. Poor agricultural and farming practices can have a large amount to do with a lot of these particular concerns.

It appears that those that are not on independent water systems like us may also start to see severe limits to water supply due to development. The development is putting the aquifers at their limit of production and increasing the amount of storm-water running off, which reduces the amount of water recharging the aquifers. These storms can also have erosion effects on streams, which could affect my stream at some point.

(Word Count: 571)

Physiographic Provinces of Pennsylvania. Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey. Landforms of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. September 11, 2009 <>

Brown, Andrew. GEOLOGY and the Gettysburg Campaign. Gettysburg: Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, 1962. <>

Physiographic Provinces and Their Subdivisions in Maryland. Maryland Geological Survey. A Brief Description of the Geology of Maryland. Resource Assessment Service. September 11, 2009 <>

Ground Water: Where Does It Come From?. Carroll County Health Department. Water Quality – Well Maintenance Handbook. Resource Assessment Service. September 11, 2009 <>

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