Watershed: it is where you live

A post from our CEO, Dan Pingaro

Whether you know it or not, we all live within a watershed. A watershed is an area of land that drains to a common waterway. Waterways scale up from local creeks, to rivers, to lakes, estuaries, wetlands and even out to the ocean.  So you might live near small a creek which would be sub-watershed of the larger system into which your local creek drains, such as a river, lake or estuary.

Recently, I traveled through a number of eastern states. It is always amazing to me that six states have portions of land base that drain into the Chesapeake Bay, forming the Chesapeake Bay watershed. That means the Chesapeake Bay watershed encompasses many different governmental, nonprofit, corporate and even federal entities.  This makes it complicated for resource managers to effectively provide support and protection to the critical Chesapeake Bay watershed and bay that encompasses approximately 64,000 square miles.
Chesapeake Bay Watershed
Big or small watersheds are impacted by pollution, resource extraction among other issues while simultaneously providing refugee for wildlife, drinking water for people and  place to live for everyone. The Chesapeake Bay watershed and bay waters are vital locally, regionally and nationally.  The watershed provides drinking water to people in Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia. The bay waters also provide economic stimulus through the tourism industry, recreational boating and fishing, as well as commercial fishing.

Watersheds are everywhere. Whether it is as large as the Chesapeake Bay’s or not, watersheds are crucial to our daily lives and to the environment, plants and animals that also call the watershed home.  Given all of the numerous entities within a watershed and the scope of the environmental system that is supported, perhaps we should consider that our state and local boundaries be redefined by watershed boundaries rather than by lines drawn on a map for political purposes?

To learn more about how you may protect you local watershed please click on any of the following links: USEPA Ten Things you can do to help your watershed and a few more tips from the Office of Water homepage  and the Watershed Homepage.

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