What is a Watershed?

An area of land that drains to a common body of water, such as a stream, creek, river, pond, lake or ocean. It is the entire land area that contributes runoff to a particular body of water. Watersheds come in all different sizes. Wayne County has six main watersheds. The main watersheds in Wayne County are the: Chippewa Creek, Killbuck Creek, Sugar Creek, Tuscarawas, Mohican River and Muddy Fork River. All of our water eventually flows to the Muskingum River, which flows to the Ohio River and then proceeds to the Mississippi River, which eventually runs into the Gulf of Mexico. The amount and quality of water in a stream or other water body is the direct result of everything humans do on the land surrounding it.

Want to find your local watershed? Enter your zip code or city name on EPA's website, and it will give you your local watershed. Although this website may not define the smallest local watershed, it's a great start and gives you a good idea of where your water drains to. Check it out here.

Maps of Ohio Watersheds & Drainage Basins - ODNR Division of Water Resources

To download the photo above, click here.

SWCD Watershed Program Grants

March 14, 2018 | Soil & Water Conservation

Program Background

This program's history dates back to the successful multi-agency legislative proposal, "A Proposed Action Agenda for Ohio Watersheds." Adopted with the Ohio Fiscal Year 2000-2001 Biennial Operating Budget, $300,000 was allocated to Division of Soil and Water Conservation (then a division of Ohio Department of Natural Resources) to support grants for local watershed coordinators. Additional funding was provided to Ohio State University (OSU) Extension to develop the Ohio Watershed Network, and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) to enhance assessment and monitoring of watersheds.

Funding was also initially provided from the Clean Water Act, Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Program, administered by Ohio EPA; and from several Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) divisions including: Mineral Resources Management, Wildlife, and Office of Coastal Management.


Over 50 grants have been awarded since 2001. Roughly half of the positions established as a result of the grants have continued to be supported by sponsor organizations long after grant closure, thereby establishing a professional infrastructure for watershed management in Ohio.

Map of Ohio Watersheds with Grant-funded Coordinators 2001-2015

Other outcomes:

  • 64 state endorsed watershed action plans;

  • $114 million in grants and other funding secured by watershed coordinators to focus on watershed implementation;

  • Dozens of water resource professionals now employed by various local, state, federal, academic and private institutions throughout Ohio trained and experienced in comprehensive, collaborative, science-based water resource problem solving;

  • Establishment of several regional watershed organizations within Ohio to promote networking and information sharing among and between watershed professionals including:

  • Scores of successful projects on the landscape improving water quality and building the knowledge of land managers and decision makers;

  • Measurable water quality improvements in many watersheds, including the highly successful Raccoon Creek watershed restoration. This watershed was severely degraded by acid mine drainage and supported very little life. Now because of the efforts of watershed coordinators and many partners working over a 15-year period, 115 miles of the creek are meeting the pH target of 6.5, and 42 miles of Raccoon Creek have improved enough to meet Ohio EPA water quality standards for aquatic life use. More data about Ohio's Appalachian watershed success stories may be found at www.watersheddata.com.

More on SWCD Watershed Program Grant status available here

SWCD Watershed Program Grants - 2019

DSWC and the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission continue to provide grants to facilitate leadership in local watershed management. While three grants continue with funding from ODNR Division of Wildlife to support full-time watershed coordinators in Captina Creek, Yellow-Cross Creeks, and Little Beaver Creek; a newly restructured grant program built on the success of the Ohio Watershed Coordinator Grant Program was launched in January 2018. Renamed as SWCD Watershed Program Grants, this new program differs in some important ways from previous iterations:

  • Grants are only available to Ohio SWCDs, however, strong partnerships remain critical to success;

  • Up to $40,000 per year may be requested for 3-year grants;

  • DSWC intends to continue providing for successful watersheds with follow-up grants beyond the initial 3-year grant;

  • and, rather than being limited to employing a full-time watershed coordinator, a participating SWCD may employ a team approach by indicating how various staff will fill watershed coordination roles and complete grant deliverables.

For the original article, click here.