What is a Watershed?
A watershed is an area of land that drains rain water or snow into one location such as a stream, lake or wetland. These water bodies supply our drinking water, water for agriculture and manufacturing, offer opportunities for recreation (swimming, canoeing and fishing, anyone?) and provide habitat to numerous plants and animals. Unfortunately various forms of pollution, including runoff and erosion, can interfere with the health of the watershed. Therefore, it is important to protect the quality of our watersheds.
Why are Watersheds Important?
Watersheds are important because the surface water features and storm water runoff within a watershed ultimately drain to other bodies of water. It is essential to consider these downstream impacts when developing and implementing water quality protection and restoration actions.
What are the 3 Main Functions of a Watershed?
There are three processes within a watershed that can protect water quality if preserved: water capture, water storage, and water release.
Because a watershed is an area that drains to a common body of water, one of its main functions is to temporarily store and transport water from the land surface to the water body and ultimately (for most watersheds) onward to the ocean.
Why Do We Need Healthy Watersheds?
Watersheds sustain life, in more ways than one. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than $450 billion in foods, fiber, manufactured goods and tourism depend on clean, healthy watersheds. That is why proper watershed protection is necessary to you and your community.
Watershed protection is a means of protecting a lake, river, or stream by managing the entire watershed that drains into it. Clean, healthy watersheds depend on an informed public to make the right decisions when it comes to the environment and actions made by the community.