What is a watershed?
The simple definition is an area of land that drains into a lake or river. As rainwater and melting snow run downhill, they carry sediment and other materials into streams, lakes, wetlands and groundwater. We all live in a watershed - it's the place we call home, or where we work or play. It is also a complex web of natural resources - soil, water, air, plants and animals.
The South Fork watershed area is primarily used for intensive agriculture - both crop and livestock, containing some of Iowa's most productive land. Scientists and leaders recognize the best way to protect our vital natural resources is to understand and manage them on a watershed basis. The health of a watershed has significant economic and quality of life implications.