Watersheds

Traditionally, watersheds are defined as an area of land that all drains to the same spot. Maybe a better way to think of them is as a giant outdoor stadiums where we root for our water team. Go Watershed!

Intro - Nature's Stadiums

By Robert V. Sobczak

Sports are great.

They help communities rally together.

Let's root for our watersheds (and the Dolphins, too)

Now let’s go out and win one for the watershed, because trust me they need our help. That's right, I'm not talking about being a spectator, not that I'm saying we shouldn't be watershed fans. What I'm saying is our watersheds need you to suit up and be a player, or a coach, or however else you can help. We're in this together, and the watersheds are our home. Just ask a gator and they'll tell you. Or at least they'll oblige with a smile, which means yes, and stay away. Alligators may look docile but they can be quick as a stitch (I just made up that say, but I think you know what I mean.)

More about our watersheds. Mention the name Florida and people probably instinctively think "the sunshine state." But is there a state where water is more abundant and more central to how we think of the place? And I'm not talking the Atlantic or Gulf coasts, although you can add those in too. I'm talking about Florida's 30 major basins, 5 major water management districts, 4 national estuary programs and 3 major aquifer systems.

Recent Blog Posts

Florida’s Water
And how we organize it, but can we save them?

Mention the name Florida and people probably instinctively think “the sunshine state.” But is there a state where water is more abundant and more central to how we think of the place? And I’m not talking the Atlantic or Gulf coasts, although you can add those in too. I’m talking about Florida’s 30 major basins, 5 major water management districts, 4 national estuary programs and 3 major aquifer systems.

Florida’s 30 major basins (it might be 29)

Read more

How To: Visit every spring
And why its better than the beach

Of Florida’s 720 springs …

33 are first magnitude (orange).

Florida’s 1st, 2nd and 3rd magnitude springs

Another 342 are second and third order. Most of them are located where the Floridan Aquifer is exposed at the surface (shown in green above), or only shallowly submerged, thus allowing pressurized groundwater to wormhole its way to the surface. By definition, a first magnitude spring discharges at least 64 million gallons per day (100 cfs), or about 2.5 Fenway Parks (i.e. filled to the top of the 37.5 ft Green Monster). Silver Spring is currently flowing at about 20 Fenways per day. Not bad for a 65 ft diameter vent. Beach, spring, swamp or spring — it’s hard not to argue that seeing a spring isn’t the most impressive sight, and should be on the top of any tourist’s bucket list. As for seeing all 720, my recommendation is to start with Silver Spring or Weeki Wachee and go from there.

Watersheds of south Florida

Major Rivers of the US
And the watersheds that feed them

Watersheds famously …

Don’t obey jurisdictional lines.

Major Rivers and Watersheds of the United States

The reason? For one, most (or many) jurisdictional lines are straight whereas watersheds and rivers — at least in their natural state — abhor straight lines. Many a squiggly state line actually follow along the path of a river. The top of Kentucky, the bottom of Indiana and Ohio and the side of West Virginia are each formed by the Ohio River. Probably most famous in that regard is the southern boundary of Texas, as delineated by the Rio Grande. Mexico and Texas aren’t so much separated by the river as they are united by the Rio Grande Watershed (orange). The same principle applies on the northern boundary with the Red River. It flows north into Lake Winnepeg which is part of the larger Saskatchewan Basin that flows into St. James Bay.

Morale of the Story: Rivers and watersheds go hand in hand, and yes, they will cross over jurisdictional lines.