Do you live in a watershed? How big is it? What’s its name? Don’t worry if you can’t answer these questions. Most people can’t. But that doesn’t mean understanding the concept of a watershed is unimportant.
A watershed is the area of land that contributes runoff and streamflow to a given point down-stream. Watersheds are defined by watershed divides, high points or ridges in the landscape separating runoff between adjacent watersheds.
A watershed can be subdivided into smaller watersheds. For example, Beaver Creek is a tributary to Buck Creek, so the Buck Creek watershed includes smaller watersheds, one of which is the Beaver Creek watershed. Smaller watersheds are often referred to as subwatersheds. Likewise, Buck Creek is a tributary of Mad River, so its watershed is part of a larger watershed that contributes runoff and streamflow to the Mad River. At the largest scale, runoff and streamflow from Buck Creek and Mad River watersheds flows into the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, so the Buck Creek watershed is part of the even larger Mississippi River watershed.
The runoff pollution we create here in Springfield not only impacts our local watersheds, but flows downstream impacting Dayton, the Ohio River, the Mississippi, and eventually the water quality in the Gulf of Mexico.
Whether we are homeowners, business owners, or builders/developers, there are many of things we can do to protect our watersheds and their water quality.