Watersheds Make Practical Management Units

Management Units: River Basin, USGS Cataloging Unit, Small Watershed (stream waterbody and/or lake waterbody)

A common, nested set of watersheds greatly enhances coordination and data sharing.

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The Emerging Framework

Watershed management is the emerging choice of many organizations to integrate and coordinate efforts. A common definition of a watershed is " an area of land from which all surface and ground water flows from higher elevations downhill to a common body of water such as a stream, river, lake, wetland, estuary, or ocean." In essence, watersheds are landscape units that integrate land-, air-, and water-related ecological processes. This, along with the fact that watershed boundaries can be identified with relative ease, makes watersheds practical management units for integrating efforts.

Environmental managers throughout the Nation are acknowledging this practicality by designing and implementing watershed approaches that build on existing management initiatives and programs and offer new management opportunities to get closer to the goal of ecosystem integrity. Thus, watershed management frameworks represent a new way of doing business with existing programs rather than a new set of programs.

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Section 3 of 15