What is a Watershed?

A watershed is defined as a topographically delineated area drained by a stream. It is also referred to as a catchment and extends ridge top to ridge top. The interactions of the terrestrial and aquatic environments within the watershed determine watershed health.

Much of Oregon’s natural resource management is based on watersheds. Why? First, watersheds are natural boundaries. Watershed management organizes and guides land and other resource use to provide desired goods and services without adversely affecting soil and water resources. This type of management also recognizes the interrelationships among land use, soil, water and linkages between upland and downstream areas. Finally, watershed management is based on scientific method; local citizens identify and prioritize projects, develop action plans, implement projects, and evaluate.