- A ridge of high land dividing two areas drained by different river systems.
- The region draining into a body of water.
-A turning point
"The watershed is the first and last nation whose boundaries, though subtly shifting, are unarguable.” - Gary Snyder
Everyone lives in a watershed, from the great deserts to the tops of the highest mountains. The Los Angeles metropolitan area is actually made up of several watersheds. These include the Santa Clara watershed in the north, the Ballona Creek/Santa Monica Bay watershed in the west, the San Gabriel in the east, and the Los Angeles River watershed right in the middle of it all.
When people think about Los Angeles, they think about Hollywood, about freeways, about shopping, even about earthquakes and droughts, but they don't think about rivers. The Los Angeles area covers over 1,000 square miles of the second-most densely populated metropolitan area in the United States, but Southern California also has a rich and varied natural world that is unknown even to many of us who live here. Our waterways are an important part of our past and our future, and the key to saving them is understanding how they work.
Large watersheds are often broken down into sub-watersheds by tributary waterways. This helps with more detailed planning efforts, as geologic and even social conditions can vary widely between different watershed regions. There have been several collaborative sub-watershed planning processes undertaken in the region. These currently include Tujunga/Pacoima Wash, Arroyo Seco, Sun Valley, Compton Creek, Dominguez Channel, Upper San Gabriel River, Rio Hondo and Ballona Creek.
Find out which watershed you live in and check out your watershed plan.
Learn more about your watershed using the menu at left.
"A watershed is that area of land, a bounded hydrologic system, within which all living things are inextricably linked by their common water course and where, as humans settled, simple logic demanded that they become part of a community." - John Wesley Powell