What’s a Watershed?

by the GRWC Student Interns…

Gualala River Watershed

Gualala River Watershed drains 300 square miles to the Pacific Ocean

Alright, so let me start off by saying this will not usually be dry definitions, so bear with me for this short introduction of sorts. Before I start blogging about a watershed, I should probably explain to those of you who don’t what a watershed is.

Watershed Diagram

Watershed Diagram

A watershed is an area of land where all the water from springs, snow, rain, or ground water aquifers, etc… drain into the same place. This place is usually a river, lake or ocean. Pretty much all the land in America is divided into watersheds with a main river or lake and lots of smaller streams and creeks called tributaries flowing into it. Surface runoff (or overland flow as it’s called in this diagram) from snow and rain feeds into the tributaries, often with a spring feeding a couple of the tributaries as well.