watershed book concept art

Concept Art for Watershed designed by Amelia Hanson
Landscapes may be distressed, as these torn paper scraps were, yet they can blossom into beauty.

Every area on earth that has biological life is fed by its own living watershed.

The word watershed can refer either to the ridge or swamp where water separates into different drainage systems, or it can designate a region that is bounded by such a divide and from which water drains ultimately into a particular waterway or body of water. I use the term primarily in that second sense.

hand drawn map of my local minnesota watersheds

A map of Ranae’s local watersheds, by Grace Harnois

The map above shows the major watersheds and towns featured in Watershed. Minnesota waters fan in three directions – the Mississippi flows south, Lake Superior flows east, and the White Iron Chain of Lakes and Red River of the North move to Hudson Bay.

In Minnesota and throughout the US, regions are divided into major watersheds and then into smaller watershed management areas. Other maps could give you further context: the map at this link – Map of Major US Watersheds – indicates the major systems; this beautifully-colored map gives an idea of the smaller river systems that feed into the larger ones.

For drainage basins (watersheds) of the world, look here; also check this map from the Decolonial Atlas. If you have a chance to teach about watersheds, consider using the lesson plan from The National Geographic Society.

Order Watershed – UMNPress