Streamflow, or discharge, is the amount of water moving past
a cross-section of a stream over a set period of time. Streamflow
is affected by the amount of water within a watershed, increasing
with rainstorms and decreasing during dry periods.
Flow is important because it defines the shape, size and course
of the stream.
It is integral not only to water quality, but also to habitat.
Streamflow is affected by both forces of nature and by humans.
Over the years, agriculture and development have made a big
impact on the location and flow of Brooker Creek. Water-control
devices and dams have been installed to maintain constant water
levels in lakes. The Creek has been diverted through culverts
to make way for road construction. Construction crews strategically
install levees along the banks of the Creek to keep water out
of floodplains and away from new developments. A constant supply
of water is removed from underground aquifers to supply drinking
water to homes and irrigation water to farms. Each of these
structures or practices has changed the natural condition of
the Creek. Sometimes the change is minor, in other situations
the change is more significant. Regardless of whether big or
small, every change contributes to the alteration of the Creek
and the ecosystems it supports.