What is a watershed?


Do you live in a watershed?

Of course! We all do. Everything we do is within a watershed. From very small to very large, we all live in a watershed!

A watershed is the area of land where all of the water (or snow) that falls in it then drains into a common outlet. A watershed is described as an area of land that contains a common set of streams and rivers that drain into one larger body of water. Watersheds can be as small as a footprint or large enough to encompass several states.  

A watershed is a basin-like landform defined by highpoints ridges that descend into lower elevations. A watershed carries water shed from the land after rain falls and snow melts.


Watershed health

Watershed health is important because the surface water and storm water runoff within a watershed ultimately drain to other bodies of water. Water impacts from upstream affect downstream waters. Everything upstream eventually ends up downstream. Our everyday activities impact the downstream effects on water. Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD) and nutrient runoff are the biggest contributors of negative water impacts within Cambria County. The District has spear headed many projects to remediate AMD effects throughout the county.

PA watersheds

Pennsylvania has six major watersheds: the Ohio, the Genesee, the Susquehanna, the Delaware, the Erie, and the Potomac. Cambria County is located in the Susquehanna watershed, which is part of the larger Chesapeake Bay watershed. This means that all of the water that falls within the Susquehanna watershed will drain into the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which will eventually drain into the Atlantic Ocean.

The major watersheds within Cambria County are the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, Chest Creek, Blacklick Creek, Little Conemaugh River, and Clearfield Creek.

Chest Creek Watershed location in Cambria County

Chest Creek Watershed location in Cambria County