Know Your Watershed
What is a watershed?
A watershed is an area of land where all of the moisture that
falls on it flows into the same waterway.
A watershed can be as small as a backyard or many thousands of
square miles. For example the watershed most Tulsans are familiar
with might be the Arkansas River. The Arkansas River begins in
Colorado's Rocky Mountains and flows 1,469 miles to the Mississippi
River. It drains parts of seven states, including Colorado, New
Mexico, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Arkansas - a
watershed of 168,002 square miles. This makes it the
9th largest watershed in the U.S.
Why are watersheds important?
Tulsa is required, under the Clean Water Act, to
eliminate sources of pollution in its stormwater runoff. Knowing
the boundaries of a watershed where pollution originates can help
find the pollution source.
Many things cause pollution in streams including things we
wouldn't normally think of: grass clippings, pet wastes, leaking
vehicle fluids, sediment, trash, as well as many other things
Learning about what watershed you live in can help you learn
about issues that may affect your health and safety, such as
flooding and pollution.
Tulsa's Stormwater Quality Section began conducting stream
sampling on 30 of Tulsa's largest watersheds in 2012. As we learn
more about the health of these streams we will share more
information with the public on these waterways.
Tulsa is a beautiful city with wonderful natural areas. Its
streams need to be recognized as a community asset given their
function and beauty. We hope the "My
Watershed" tool enables you to learn more about Tulsa's