Watershed Detectives is an award-winning middle school program that offers a place-based curriculum called the Fish Kill Mystery, flood safety awareness activities, and field trip support to caves, creeks, and springs.

The Fish Kill Mystery

Make science relevant to your middle school students with an Austin- based, hands-on watershed investigation!

The Austin Watershed Detectives Fish Kill Mystery curriculum is a series of three lessons based on a true historical pollution event that occurred in Austin in 1979. In this hands-on simulation, students investigate a contaminated pond where 200 fish were found dead. Students use topographic maps and a watershed model to determine flow paths and then locate the source of contamination by conducting simulated tests. All lessons are correlated to the 7th Grade Science TEKS.

Kit Request Form (PDF)

Lesson 1
Lesson 2
Lesson 3
Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3
Presentation Student Sheet 2.1 Student Sheet 3.1
Student Sheet 1.2 Student Sheet 2.2 Student Sheet 3.2
Student Sheet 1.3   Student Sheet 3.3
Student Sheet 1.4   Map Key
Student Sheet 1.5    

Flood Safety Awareness

Use the Watershed Detectives Web Map to find out what watershed you live in and whether you live in a floodplain.  You can search for your address, zoom into a particular area, click layers of information on or off and adjust the opacity of layers to create your own map.  Check out www.atxfloods.com for information about the status of low water crossings and www.atxfloodsafety.com for flood safety information. 

In the following lesson, students conduct an experiment with a model of a low-water crossing and learn about factors that cause flooding and what they can do to stay safe during a flood:

A model of a low-water crossing is available to be checked out. You may request the model by emailing Jessica Gordon or calling 512-974-3082.

Watershed Detectives Field Investigations

Watershed Detectives provides a limited number of field trip opportunities per year based on staff availability. These include caving into the Edwards Aquifer, water quality testing of local creeks and educational tours of Barton Springs.

To schedule a field trip use the contact information on the right of this page. Field trips are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis as scheduling permits.

Watershed Detectives Field Investigations

In the News

Watershed Detectives wins Groundwater Stewardship Award for education from the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District.

<p>CityView episode features the debut of our new flood curriculum at the Austin Area STEM Conference.</p>
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