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What's a watershed?
(added to website June 24, 2004)

Definition of a watershed
FAR will be using these principles in its Stream Team practices while working closely with the municipal and state guidelines initiated by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the new NPDES Phase II guidlines which encompasses the definition of watershed protection listed below for your information and edification.

From Center for Watershed Protection - Maryland

Depending on where we live, we cross quite a few brooks, creeks, runs, branches, gulches, arroyos, bayous, ditches, or channels as we drive to work each day. Each stream we cross is part of a massive network of perhaps three million streams that drain to the rivers and, ultimately, to the sea. Each stream has its own watershed that circumscribes all of the land that drains to the point where we cross it. Collectively, these small watersheds provide critical natural services that sustain or enrich our daily lives: they supply our drinking water, critical habitat for plants and animals, areas of natural beauty, and water bodies for recreation and relaxation. Small streams are an important element of our local geography, and confer a strong sense of place to a community. View our Why Watersheds? presentation.

Communities across the nation are turning to watershed protection to sustain the watershed services that they stand to lose as they grow. Regardless of region, the underlying cause of threats to watershed quality and health is usually the same: watershed development. Current or future watershed development has been implicated as a prime threat to salmon runs in the streams of the Pacific Northwest, coral reefs in the Florida Keys, freshwater mussel diversity in Midwestern streams, endangered salamanders found in Texas springs, shellfish harvesting along our coastlines, sea grass beds in Long Island Sound, and trout streams across the country.

Communities across the nation have discovered that they must work at the watershed level to solve their diverse water resource problems. They have also found that no matter what watershed they are working in, the same eight basic management tools are needed to mitigate the impacts of development: watershed planning, land conservation, aquatic buffers, better site design, erosion control, stormwater treatment practices, control of non-stormwater discharges, and watershed stewardship. To be sure, these basic tools may need to be applied in different ways or in different combinations, but together they form the backbone of all Center projects.