General Watershed Information

General Watershed Information | Watershed Threats | How You Can Help | Watershed Resources

What is a watershed?

It's the land the water flows across or under on its way to a stream, river, or lake.


All of the rain or snowfall will eventually drain into the stream and then into the lake, carrying anything on the ground with it.

How do watersheds work?

The landscape is made up of many interconnected basins, or watersheds. Within each watershed, all water runs to the lowest point - a stream, river, or lake. On its way, water travels over the surface and across farm fields, forest land, suburban lawns, and city streets, or it seeps into the soil and travels as ground water.

Are all watersheds the same?

Watersheds come in many different shapes and sizes and have many different features. Watersheds can have hills or be nearly flat. They can have farmland, rangeland, small towns, and big cities.

Your watershed community.

Everyone lives in a watershed. You and everyone in your watershed are part of the watershed community along with the animals, birds, and fish. You influence water in your watershed, good or bad, by how you treat the natural resources - the soil, water, air, plants, and animals.

Diagram of a watershed