A watershed, also known as a catchment or drainage basin, is the area of land where water from precipitation (either rain or snow) drains downhill into a body of water, such as a stream, river, reservoir, wetland, sea or ocean. Protecting these watersheds from pollution, erosion, and runoff of agricultural or industrial contaminants is essential for our survival.
The watershed includes both the bodies that convey the water (rivers, streams, etc.) as well as the land area from which water drains. Watersheds are separated from adjacent catchments by a drainage divide. The following video is a great introduction to the idea of a watershed:
No matter where you live, you are in a watershed. If we don’t manage our watersheds wisely, we risk losing access to clean water, and everything downstream from us will also be affected by our actions (or non-action).
Watershed resources links:
- Surf your watershed with a searchable map from the EPA to find active groups working on watershed issues near you.
- Watershed Management Council
- Center for Watershed Protection
- National Resources Conservation Service
- USGS Water Resources
- National Wetlands Inventory
- National Groundwater Association