Learn about your watershed
A watershed or drainage basin, is the area of land where all the water that drains off it runs to a specific point on a watercourse, usually a confluence of stream or river.
The Stroubles Creek watershed is a sub-watershed of the New River basin in Montgomery County, Virginia. The surrounding area of Stroubles Creek is characterized by limestone/dolomite formations, sink holes, and natural springs. The streambed of Stroubles Creek is alluvium-flood-plain deposits of stratified unconsolidated sand, silt, and clay with beds and lenses of pebbles and cobles.
The headwaters of Stroubles Creek are natural springs. The freshwater stream discharges into the New River after flowing through urban and urbanizing areas of Blacksburg, Virginia Tech, and agricultural and rural areas of Montgomery County. The size of the Stroubles Creek watershed is about 6,393 hectares or 15,797 acres.
Major land use changes have occurred within the watershed during the past one-hundred years, primarily in residential and agricultural development. In 1900, the urban land use was insignificant; the town was a few square blocks, and the university consisted of a few buildings and experimental agricultural fields. From the mid 1800s to 1930s, deep coal mining was an active industry in the watershed. One event of significant ecological consequence occurred in 1937 when the natural course of the central branch of Stroubles Creek was altered and partially covered in order to accommodate building a drill field on the Virginia Tech campus. At about the same time, a small dam was built to expand the Duck Pond for recreational purposes.
Two main branches of Stroubles Creek, Webb Branch and Central Branch, feed into the Duck Pond. The springs of the two branches emerge from the northern part of the town of Blacksburg. Currently, the pond serves both as a recreational facility and as a stormwater management facility for urban runoff from the town of Blacksburg and parts of the university. A contour map showing the land elevation of the Duck Pond is provided on the lower right of this sign. The image on the center of this sign is an aerial photo of the Duck Pond taking in 1999.