What is a watershed?
Watersheds, also called drainage basins, are areas of land that drain all streams and rainfall to a common outlet such as other larger streams, rivers, or waters bodies. Every square inch of land in Virginia is a part of a watershed ranging from small creeks, to large rivers, and Chesapeake Bay. Every resident in Virginia lives in a local watershed.
Why are watersheds important?
All water which lands on the surface of Virginia (or the Earth for that matter) has the potential to become part of a watershed. This “runoff” water collects sediment, nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, and other materials that cause the water to become polluted. Polluted stormwater runoff is the number one cause of polluted streams and rivers in Virginia, which also happen to be the main sources of water for drinking and recreation. We are working together to keep local residents healthy and safe by reducing the amount of pollution that reaches local creeks and rivers.
Find your local watershed
Northern Virginia Regional Commission created an interactive watershed map to learn about and explore watersheds in Virginia. Search for your home or point of interest to find out which watershed is is located in, and what larger watersheds it ultimately becomes. As you zoom in, the map shows smaller watersheds that drain into creeks and local streams. As you zoom out, the map shows larger watersheds that drain into major rivers or water bodies.