What is a Watershed?

Local streams empty into larger streams, rivers or lakes, which may empty into a larger river, which empties into the Great Lakes, which empties into the Ocean. A watershed consists of all the land that drains into a river, stream, creek, or lake, as well as the humans, animals, plants, rocks, and soils that live in it.

You are part of a watershed, and everything you do on the surface affects the water in your creeks and rivers, thus affecting the water you drink and the water for all living creatures within them.

The Detroit River watershed includes its tributaries, - the Canard River, Little River and Turkey Creek; within the City of Windsor, 100% of our municipal water is taken from the Detroit River. In our region, there are also tributaries that drain into the Lake St. Clair watershed (e.g. Puce River, Belle River), and Lake Erie watershed tributaries (e.g. Cedar Creek, Mill and Wigle Creek)

Watersheds are important because...

Watersheds provide water for drinking, irrigation and industrial purposes. Many people also enjoy and use water bodies for their beauty and for recreation. In addition, wildlife requires a healthy watershed for food, shelter and survival.

What are some concerns about my watershed?

Water quality problems are a major concern in a watershed, and can result from a wide variety of activities, especially pollution.

Pollution can occur from factories or wastewater treatment plants that discharge into a waterway. This is an example of POINT POLLUTION. Another major type of water pollution is called NON POINT SOURCE POLLUTION. It is harder to identify, measure and regulate because it consists of pollutants that are in runoff pesticides, herbicides, failing septic systems, parking lots, construction sites, irrigation systems and drainage systems.

How can I protect my watershed?

We are a part of our watershed. This means we, as individuals, can also cause point source pollution and non point source pollution affecting nearby water. Animals, plants and humans all depend on the watershed. By polluting the watershed, we are harming ourselves and everything around us. Preventing and conserving is the key. Learn about your watershed, where your water supply comes, from and where it goes after use.

If you have any questions about your watershed you can always speak to the Essex Region Conservation Authority; they will be able to inform you about your watershed and answer many of your questions.