Watershed

The Tippecanoe River near Buffalo, Indiana in May.

A watershed, or drainage basin, is an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another water body, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean. In closed drainage basins the water converges to a single point tippe_watershedinside the basin, known as a sink, which may be a permanent lake, dry lake, or a point where surface water is lost underground.The drainage basin includes both the streams and rivers that convey the water as well as the land surfaces from which water drains into those channels, and is separated from adjacent basins by a drainage divide.

The drainage basin acts as a funnel by collecting all the water within the area covered by the basin and channeling it to a single point. Each drainage basin is separated topographically from adjacent basins by a geographical barrier such as a ridge, hill or mountain.

White County is part of the Tippecanoe River Watershed. A small portion of the southwest corner of the county lies in the Big Pine Creek watershed. Most of the surface water that falls as rain and melting snow in White County eventually flows into the Tippecanoe River as well as Lake Freeman and Lake Shafer. The Tippecanoe watershed is actually a part of an even bigger watershed, the Wabash watershed. Smaller watersheds make up larger ones. The Wabash watershed flows into the Ohio watershed and the Ohio flows into the Mississippi watershed, which eventually ends up in the Gulf of Mexico. Because of this, everything that may end up in the water in White County can eventually contaminate other areas.

What can you do to protect the water that will eventually end up in the Gulf of Mexico? Be sure to put trash and pet waste in garbage cans. Don’t pour any chemicals, such as gasoline, oil, or paint, on the ground.

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The BiBig Pine Creek WMP_15Oct2015.pdfg Pine Creek Watershed drains nearly 17,500 acres in the far southwest corner of White county, but it lies mostly in Benton and Warren counties. To learn more about the watershed management plan for Big Pine Creek, select the icon at left. Additional information on recent and on-going conservation activities in the Big Pine Creek watershed can be found at The Nature Conservancy and at the Natural Resources Conservation Service.