What is a watershed?
A watershed is an area of land that drains into a common water body such as a stream, river, lake or ocean.
There are several excellent websites that talk about watersheds, how they work, and how they formed. We recommend that you visit the following:
- The Watershed Atlas of the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers
- The Conservation Technology’s Information Center’s Know Your Watershed
Why Should You Care About a Watershed?
It is important to care about a healthy watershed because:
- A healthy stream system can be enjoyed recreationally, can support a healthy natural biological community, and can function in a non-destructive way during heavy rain events.
- There are ways to reduce the risk of flooding that also enhance water quality and a watershed’s recreational value at the same time.
- Costs associated with flooding affect every one of us through federal, state, and local tax dollars required to address emergency management and repairs.
- Our drinking water is taken from either an aquifer, stream, or river.
- Dirty water costs more to purify than cleaner water.
- Recreational users can be directly impacted by stream health through contact with bacterial or other contaminants.
- Better fish populations due to good water quality increase the recreational opportunities of a stream system and can increase revenue of service industries and businesses that surround it.
- A healthier watershed and clean streams become a source of pride for the community and may increase property values. Streams that are polluted or full of litter are unattractive and have a negative impact.