Watershed Plannning

Before we talk about watershed planning, it is important to understand what exactly a watershed is.   A watershed is an area of land from which all water drains to a common location.  The watershed is generally named for the lake or river to which it drains.  For example, Medina County is split by the continental divide in which water flows to one of two locations; either north towards Lake Erie or south towards the Ohio River.   Watersheds come in many shapes and sizes.  Smaller watersheds that feed into the same stream, river, lake or ocean are called sub-watersheds of that larger system.  Although Lake Erie and the Ohio River are large bodies of water, the areas draining to them are considered sub-watersheds of the Atlantic Ocean and The Gulf of Mexico respectively.  

The sub-watersheds of Lake Erie and the Ohio River watersheds in Medina County are designated on the map provided.
“The health of a stream, river, or lake is a reflection of how its watershed is treated.”  Water does not recognize political boundaries;
therefore, activities of one political entity can cause problems to downstream entities.
As a result, problems should be looked at on a watershed level.  Below are some keys to successful watershed management.

The Watershed Planning Process

Get to Know Your Watershed

Determine size, boundaries, soils, terrain and other features

Understand the people, interests, and institutions

Determine how the watershed is used

Build Local Partnerships

Identify and contact partners/stakeholders

Divide work and responsibility

Identify and manage conflicts

Obtain local funding and other resources

Determine Priorities for Action  

Assemble maps and data

Identify and document problems

Determine goals and objectives

Evaluate water quality

Assess land use

Select critical areas for attention

Conduct Educational Programs

Identify and understand target audience

Develop specific messages

Combine communication approaches, channels and media

Provide Landowners with Assistance

Target technical assistance

Provide financial assistance

Build social support and recognition

Ensure Implementation and Follow-up

Continue with monitoring and evaluation

Provide continued local funding

Continue to inform and involve everyone

For more information of watershed planning visit the following sites:

A Guide To Developing Local Watershed Action Plans in Ohio 
Center for Watershed Protection

Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC)