What is a Watershed?

A watershed is the area of land that drains into a body of water such as a river, lake, stream or bay. It is separated from other systems by high points in the area such as hills or slopes. It includes not only the waterway itself but also the entire land area that drains to it. For example, the watershed of a lake would include not only the streams entering the lake but also the land area that drains into those streams and eventually the lake. Drainage basins generally refer to large watersheds that encompass the watersheds of many smaller rivers and streams. 


What Watershed Do You Live In?

Watersheds come in all shapes and sizes. They cross county, state, and national boundaries. In the continental US, there are 2,110 watersheds; including Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico, there are 2,267 watersheds. 

- Excerpts from USEPA