Creek Speak: A Watery Glossary

Interested in being a creek freak? Then you’ve got to learn the lingo.

kenter creek, los angeles, creekfreaks
Christina Gandolfo
  • Aquifer: An underground body of porous rock or sediment saturated with groundwater that can be extracted using wells. Aquifers can be close to the surface or more than 30,000 feet deep. Shallow aquifers are often used for drinking and irrigation and are replenished by rainfall, but they are also at risk of pollution and depletion.
  • Bioswale: Shallow vegetated landscape depressions that allow for the capture, collection, and filtration of stormwater and runoff, which then seep through the soil to recharge groundwater.
  • Daylighting: The process by which a stream is uncovered and restored. This typically involves reinstalling an earthen bottom by removing concrete or piping, introducing native plants, and encouraging a natural, meandering flow.
  • Riverine (a.k.a. Riparian): Relating to wetlands adjacent to rivers or streams.
  • Slough: A wetland—usually a swamp or shallow lake—in which water moves slowly. A slough is usually a backwater to a larger body of water.
  • Watershed (a.k.a. Drainage Basin or Catchment): The drainage network of an area’s creeks, streams, and rivers, where all water collects and eventually runs to an outflow point such as a lake or ocean. Watersheds can be small or can span hundreds of miles.•
    Denise Hamilton is a Los Angeles native, crime novelist, and former reporter for the Los Angeles Times.
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