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Watershed Basics


Cleaner water begins in the watershed - an area of land that drains into a lake or stream. Learn about what a watershed is and how it works, what the problems are and how we can work to fix them, and what you and your neighbors can do to help our lakes and streams.

How watersheds work
A watershed is the area of land that drains into a lake or stream. Water traveling over the surface or through groundwater may pick up contaminants like sediment, chemicals and waste and deposit them in a body of water.

We all live in a watershed. Watersheds can be small - like the area that drains into the creek behind your house. Or, watersheds can be large- think of all the land, streams and rivers that drain into the Mississippi River!

This watershed diagram shows how water runs downhill. Making changes on the land keeps pollutants from rural and urban areas from washing into our water.
The watershed diagram above shows how water runs downhill. Making changes on the land keeps pollutants from rural and urban areas from washing into our water. 
 
DNR Contact
Steve Hopkins
DNR Watershed Improvement Program Grants Coordinator
515-725-8390
Stephen.Hopkins@dnr.iowa.gov
 


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