FORMING A WATERSHED ALLIANCE
A Network of Neighbors Protecting Their Watershed

Conservation Technology Information Center
1220 Potter Dr., Room 170
West Lafayette, IN 47906
317-494-9555
fax: 317-494-5969

YOU AND YOUR WATERSHED

No matter where you live, you're in a watershed.

A watershed is a geographic area that contains a common outlet into which water, sediments and dissolved materials drain. This area is also called the drainage basin. Water drains from higher areas of the basin to lower areas, generally concentrating into a wetland, stream, river or lake.

A watershed knows no boundaries except its own. It crosses political, land use and ownership boundaries. Your watershed may be made up of farmland, suburban development, industry and/or urban areas. All the people and animals that live in the watershed can have an impact on the water quality in nearby wetlands, streams, rivers and lakes.

You need to be aware of your day-to-day activities and how they might affect your watershed. Understanding how those activities can impact water quality is the first step to watershed awareness.

Pennsylvania Tip: Contact the nearest Regional Office and District Mining Office of DEP.

HOW IS WATER QUALITY AFFECTED?

Everyday activities can generate pollutants from such sources as: lawns, gardens, construction sites, roadways, septic systems and agricultural areas.

Sediment, oils, road salt, organic matter, pesticides, excess fertilizer and other nutrients can be carried by stormwater runoff into nearby ponds, lakes, streams and rivers.

These pollutants can affect the biological balance of a watershed causing increases in algae, weed growth and cloudy water. When such an imbalance occurs, it can negatively impact recreational activities such as boating, fishing and swimming.

MORE AND LESS WATER

Changes in land management may affect not only the quality of water but also the quantity of water in a watershed.

When more homes and roads are built, woodland is cleared or permanent pastures are plowed, water runoff is intensified. Without natural protective barriers, greater quantities of water enter ditches, streams and ponded areas faster. The result is often a higher and more rapid flow, during storm events, which can trigger flooding and the erosion of streambanks. The rapid flow carries more water away, leaving less for dry weather periods. Such changes are detrimental to fish and plant life.

YOU CAN HELP PROTECT YOUR WATERSHED

You can cooperate with neighbors and others who have a vested interest in the watershed. Working together, common goals and approaches can be formulated to protect your watershed.

Forming a Watershed Alliance is one way that individuals can address and resolve their water resource concerns. This grass-roots approach brings watershed residents together to plan their future, rather than having their future planned for them.

Practices that manage runoff within your watershed can be adopted to protect its water quality. Such practices are listed below.

Pennsylvania Tip: For help forming a local group contact the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers.

PRACTICES THAT PROTECT WATER QUALITY IN YOUR WATERSHED

For agricultural areas:

For rural and suburban areas:

HOW TO START A WATERSHED ALLIANCE

Steps to establishing and maintaining a successful Watershed Alliance:

Communicate Concerns: Landowners/stakeholders who live in the watershed will probably be aware of a certain water resource nearby - a lake, river, stream or wetland with symptoms of water quality problems like uncommon odors, excessive algae or siltation. Once these specific symptoms are identified, they can be discussed and relayed for action.

Establish a Common Purpose: As the symptoms are analyzed, the potential sources that contribute to the water quality problems become clearer. By identifying these sources, a common purpose often emerges. Once established, this purpose will form the basis of a program to adequately address the problems in the watershed.

Seek Assistance: Technical and financial assistance to address water quality problems in a watershed is available through the public and private sectors. (Obtain a list of water quality contacts by sending $2.00 for postage and handling to: NPS Water Quality Contacts, CTIC, 1220 Potter Dr., Rm. 170, West Lafayette, IN 47903 317 494-9555 FAX (317) 494-6969.)

Increase Awareness: Knowledge of your watershed is vital to insuring its protection. This includes knowing the boundaries of the watershed and making yourself and neighbors aware of ongoing or future activities within the watershed.

It's your watershed, it's your neighbors' watershed. Protect it!

Pennsylvania Tip: For help forming a local group contact the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers.

CTIC is a non profit public/private partnership dedicated to transferring information that encourages profitable and environmentally sound agricultural and natural resource systems.