Everyone lives in a watershed. A watershed is the land area that drains water to a particular stream, river or lake. It is a land feature that can be identified by tracing a line along the highest elevations between two areas on a map, often a ridge. 

This watershed diagram to the right suggests a typical watershed that starts with small headwater streams in the higher elevations of the drainage basin. Water flows downhill from the highest point into larger streams, eventually joining a river.  

As more tributary streams join the river, the volume of water increases. This river eventually flows downstream into an even larger river at the confluence.

Because we all live in a watershed, we play a very important role in protecting that environment. The stormwater that runs through image001_thumb.jpgour property can greatly effect the nearby stream, as well as a far off body of water that stream feeds into. For example, in Liberty the streams feed into the Missouri River, which feeds into the Mississippi River and then into the Gulf of Mexico. There is currently a "dead zone" over 7,700 square miles where the Gulf and the Mississippi meet. This area cannot support aquatic life because of the pollution coming from upstream.

What Can We Do?

Choices we make around our house can have an impact on our local streams. Some areas to consider include: 

  • Lawn care and gardening
  • Household hazardous waste disposal
  • Household cleaning products
  • Storm drains and gutters

The Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) offers great ideas and resources on how we can make smart choices and preserve our streams and natural resources for future generations.

Additional Watershed Information

MARC also has more information on regional watersheds: