What is a watershed?

Image Credit: Center for Watershed Protection

A watershed is the area of land from which water drains into a river, stream, or other waterbody. 

Water flows from the land into a waterbody by way of rivers and streams, and underground through groundwater aquifers. The rivers and streams that flow into a larger waterbody are called tributaries

The Hudson River watershed covers almost 13,400 square miles, and includes over 65 tributary streams. Each of those smaller rivers and streams has its own watershed, and all of these parts add up to the large whole. You can learn more about the Hudson River watershed here, and our local watershed partners here.

We all live in a watershed. In fact, all land on Earth is part of a watershed! Watersheds are defined by topography and the shape of the land, just like how a bathtub collects water from the shower and the water drains in the lowest spot. Any water we see in the landscape around us, running through neighborhoods or backyards, is part of our watershed. The actions we take on the land impact our rivers and streams.

The Hudson River Watershed Alliance unites and empowers communities to protect their local water resources. Do you know which watershed you live in?  Click here to find out.

For more Hudson River Watershed maps, including smaller-scale tributary watersheds, click here.