Our approach to addressing water issues involves examining all the problems and opportunities within a watershed.
What is a watershed?
A watershed is an area of land where all the water drains into a common water body, such as a creek. Think of it like a bathtub – when a drop of water hits anywhere in the tub, it eventually finds its way to the drain (the lowest point). The rim of the bathtub is like the watershed’s boundary. Any drop falling inside will eventually reach the main drain – a creek, river, or lake.
Everyone lives in a watershed, and all of our watersheds are connected. What happens in one part of the watershed affects the other parts. For example, if debris blocks a creek in the downstream portion of the watershed, the water may not flow or drain away as quickly as usual from the upstream part – causing sustained flooding. Likewise, pollutants flowing into the water upstream will be deposited in creeks, lakes, and groundwater downstream.
All the watersheds in southwestern Illinois eventually flow into the Mississippi River – a significant source of drinking water, transportation, commerce, recreation, and wildlife habitat. Healthy watersheds are not only good for the people living in them, but they contribute to a healthier and resilient Mississippi River.
Why manage projects by watershed?
Choose a Watershed from the map to learn more.