Your Watershed


What is a watershed?

A watershed is a geographic area of land in which all surface and ground water flows downhill to common point, such as a river, stream, pond, lake, wetland, or estuary.

Water from falling rain and melting snow generally drains into ditches, streams, wetlands, lakes, and coastal waters, or seeps into the ground. As water moves over the land it picks up sediment and dissolved materials and transports them to lakes, rivers, ponds, streams and coastal bays. Vegetation, leaf litter, fallen logs, and the naturally uneven terrain of forests and other natural areas slow down and filter runoff. Water flowing over parking lots and other developed areas speeds up and can pick up a variety of pollutants en route to water bodies.

MassDEP Watershed-Based Plan

(also visit

watershed-graphic300The Massachusetts Watershed-Based Plan (WBP) supplies essential information to improve the health and beneficial uses of the Commonwealth’s waters. This website has interactive maps to help local officials, watershed groups and concerned citizens learn about the problems affecting local waters, as well as potential solutions.

The WBP combines many reports about pollution sources affecting Massachusetts’ waters. It provides complete information about pollution problems, recommended remedies, and resources that can enable water quality improvements. This website was prepared by the BETA Group for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, using federal grant funds.

The WBP has guidance for managing all of the state’s watersheds.

View Massachusetts Watershed Map...

 It is an interactive web site with many web links. Information on the WBP website includes: