Water-Earth Dynamics, Challenge 2: Know Your Watershed

Multiple Perspectives

Explore the following resources to find information that will help you answer the “Generate Ideas” questions and increase your knowledge about watersheds.


  1. Three short articles in the Encyclopedia of Earth by Michael Pidwirny and others on drainage basins, Stephen Novdin and others on watersheds, and Michael Pidwirny on surface runoff provide a good introduction to the concepts of a watershed.
  2. An article in the Encyclopedia of Earth by Iain White on surface water management, discusses the importance of surface water management.

Web Sites

  1. The U.S. Geological Survey Water Science School provides information on Earth’s surface water, extreme events such as floods and droughts, and the water cycle.
  2. The Texas Water Development Board 2017 State Water Plan, Water for Texas contains regional summaries of the water resources in; an overview of the climate of Texas; and an overview of the surface water resources of the state.
  3. Visit the U.S. Geological Survey Science in Your Watershed to locate your watershed.  Once you have located the watershed in which you are interested, you can follow links to the sites where you can retrieve streamflow and water quality data, as well as information about aquatic species, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Flood Outlook, and the Environmental Protection Agency watershed station summaries.


  1. This animation shows the boundaries of a watershed and how it funnels precipitation that falls within its boundaries downslope to tributaries that flow into a river draining the watershed at a common outlet.
  2. The Canadian Wildlife Federation’s Rivers to Oceans: Surface water webisode summarizes the current threats to North America’s surface waters.

Now that you are more knowledgeable about watersheds, it is time to share your ideas with the class.