The text on this site is presented as an archival version of the script of "Ocean Planet," a 1995 Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition. The content reflects the state of knowledge at the time of the exhibition, and has not been updated.

More than three-quarters of ocean pollution comes from land §.

Most of it flows into the oceans from the mouths of rivers. § §

Tributary creeks and streams pick up oil, sediment, fertilizers, pesticides, toxic chemicals, trace metals, bacteria, decaying organic matter, and litter from the surrounding land that they drain. §

By the time a river reaches the ocean, it's carrying the runoff load from a watershed that may drain thousands of square miles §.

Reducing watershed pollution is complicated. It requires managing diverse activities including lawn care and gardening, farming, land clearing, mining, treating sewage and waste-water, handling and disposing of trash, and limiting industrial and automotive air pollution §.

Local, state, and sometimes even national governments that share a watershed face daunting challenges. §

What's your watershed address?

You're always in a watershed. To find out which one, trace the drainage path from your home to the ocean. What stream, river, lake, aquifer, reservoir, or coast does the land around your home drain to?

Other Resources:

Ocean Planet Exhibition Floorplan

gene carl feldman ( (301) 286-9428
Judith Gradwohl, Smithsonian Institution (Curator/Ocean Planet)