What's A Watershed?
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  • Find out what you know -- and should know -- about watersheds
  • Learn why the state of watersheds is being carefully monitored throughout the U.S.

Background information on watersheds is available from the Conservation Technology Information Center. "What's a Watershed?" site helps you better understand. To research your watershed on-line, you'll need to know your "watershed address."

  • Discover your "Watershed Address" by clicking here.
  • Then type in one of these: Zip code, river name, city or county name.

Click on the link to your "watershed address." You will see a map and links to useful resources.

  • For example, for the "01050002 Maine Coastal" watershed, you see these maps that show the extent of your watershed (example at right, >>>).

The Environmental Protection Agency has "Index of Watershed Indicators" for the United States. Click on the link to "Index of Watershed Indicators National Maps."

  • The "Overall Watershed Score" is based on many individual indicators within each watershed.
  • To access maps and information available for many indicators, click the links below:
  • Research watershed quality in the U.S.
  • Discover what factors put our watersheds at risk
  • Learn about the "watershed address" system
  1. Following the list of weblinks given directly above, research the "Individual Indicators" for your watershed.
    • Does the result surprise you? If so, is your watershed "healthier" or "less healthy" than you thought it would be?
      • Which, if any, of these indicators show healthy conditions in your watershed?
      • Which, if any, are rated as problems?
        • Can you guess why your watershed received these ratings?
    • Looking beyond your watershed, can you guess why some watersheds are in worse shape than others?
    • Can you think of actions that could improve your watershed's health?
      • Why might (or might not) your community/city/state wish to take such action?
  2. Think about a place in the U.S.where environmental conditions are likely "below average."
    • Follow the same process outlined in Question #1 (just above) for that place.
      • Did your results match your expectations?
    • Do the same type of research for a place in the U.S. where you think environmental conditions are likely to be "above average."
      • Did your results match your expectations?
    • Do you think that there any single factor that has the greatest negative impact on our environment?
      • If so, what is it?
  3. Get to know your state's watersheds by accessing the EPA's "Locate Your Watershed" webpage. Use their "clickable U.S. map" to see a watershed map for your state.
    • Does the outline of your state's watershed map look "funny" to you?
      • Why or why not?
      • Can you name one state whose watershed map might closely resemble its state outline?

4. Consider that each Maine "watershed address" begins with "01" as the first two digits (>>>). This identifies that the watersheds in Maine are within the "New England" Region.

  • The next two digits, however, vary from "01" to "06" and "08".
  • The last four digits vary between "0001" and "0101".

Find out more about the "watershed addresses" in your state by accessing the EPA's "clickable U.S. map."

  • Scroll down past the map of watersheds to see the total number of watersheds in your state. Click on that number.
    • You'll see a list of all the "watershed addresses" in your state.
    • Does each "watershed address" in your state begin with the same two digits?
      • If so, can you guess why?
      • If not, scroll through your state's list and click on one example for each "watershed address" that begins with a different pair of digits.
        • Do the maps of these watersheds' locations help you to understand how the "watershed address" system works?
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