Watershed 101

What is a Watershed Exactly, and How Does a Watershed Work?

A watershed is an area of land or region where water is drained to a common water body, such as a river, stream, pond, lake, or wetland. Every piece of land is part of some watershed, and every water body is formed from a watershed. This means that no matter where you live, work, or go to school, you are within a watershed!

The majority of watersheds are composed of wetlands, uplands, lakes, ponds, rivers and streams, and can vary from being a few small acres in size to millions of square miles.

If you watch outside the next time it rains, you will see that the water runs in a certain direction. It may end up in a storm drain or a carved out ditch along a roadside, but eventually it will make its way though the watershed and into a pond, river or some other water body. Some water is soaked up by the ground where trees and plants can absorb it, but even this groundwater will slowly filter out and go on to fill wetlands, lakes, streams, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is caring about watersheds important?
  • Watersheds provide necessary services for our ecosystems as well as many recreational opportunities.
  • Watersheds are responsible for replenishing groundwater aquifers, which are known to provide water for our ground wells.
  • Watersheds also provide habitat for many varieties of wildlife and plants.
  • Healthy watersheds reduce the severity of floods by absorbing and storing snow melt and rain runoff to be slowly released into streams, wetlands, lakes, etc.
How can I help ensure the proper functioning and health of my local watershed?

It is easy to help ensure that your watershed remains healthy and clean, just follow these simple steps:
  • Be sure to properly dispose of all hazardous wastes. Never dump used oils, electronics, trash, or chemicals into storm drains or on the ground.
  • Minimize the usage of pesticides and fertilizers in gardens and yards.
  • ┬áBe sure to have your septic system properly cared for and pumped periodically.
  • Minimize, or even better eliminate, the cutting down and removal of trees and other foliage on your property. Plants are natural filters and absorbents of water.
What types of wildlife species are typically found in the Kromma Kill Watershed?

The Kromma Kill Watershed is filled with all kinds of wildlife species including: Eastern Gray Squirrels, Eastern Chipmunks, Woodchucks, Wood Frogs, Bull Frogs, Green Frogs, and a variety of small fish and bird species.

Are there ways to get kids involved in watershed protection?

Yes, of course! The best way to get kids involved with watershed protection is to first begin with watershed education. Some great ways to get started include:
  • Contacting a local watershed organization or educator to come talk about watersheds at schools or community events.
  • Exposing kids to their local watersheds by taking them out to explore their local streams, ponds, lakes, etc.
  • Encouraging local schools to participate in local watershed research efforts as an educational tool for children.
  • Asking local organizations such as the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts of America or a local 4-H club to organize a watershed cleanup event or nature walk.