Have you ever heard the term "watershed" and wonder what it meant?
Watersheds are an area of land where the precipitation eventually drains into the same waterbody, but not all of that water makes it into the waterbody. 💧 Some water evaporates, plants soak up some of the water, and some soaks into the groundwater.
We all live in a watershed -- the area of land that catches rain and snow and that drains to a common waterway, such as a stream, lake, estuary, wetland, or even the ocean -- and our individual actions can directly affect it. Watersheds can be large or small. Every stream, tributary, or river has an associated watershed, and small watersheds aggregate together to become larger watersheds. It is a relatively easy task to delineate watershed boundaries using a topographical map that shows stream channels. The watershed boundaries will follow the major ridge-line around the channels and meet at the bottom where the water flows out of the watershed, commonly referred to as the mouth of the stream or river.
Water covers 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, freshwater is limited – 97% is saltwater. Of the remaining 3%, less than 1% is the freshwater that flows in our streams and lakes or is stored in our groundwater aquifers.
Because the water moves downstream in a watershed, any activity that affects the water quality, quantity, or rate of movement at one location can change the characteristics of the watershed at locations downstream. For this reason, everyone living or working within a watershed needs to cooperate to ensure good watershed condition