The Watershed

A watershed is the area of land where all of the water that is under it or drains off of it, goes into the same place.


John Wesley Powell, scientist geographer, put it best when he said that a watershed is: “that area of land, a bounded hydro-logic system, within which all living things are inextricably linked by their common water course and where, as humans settled… they became part of that community.”

Watchic Lake’s watershed covers 3.5 square miles and is part of the larger Saco River Watershed. It encompasses the areas starting to the northeast of the lake at Oak Hill and running southwest to and around the lake. The health of the watershed is key to the health of the lake.

The Watchic Lake Association (WLA) is dedicated to the preservation of the watershed around Watchic Lake, in order to ensure higher quality water and improved quality life for all around the lake.  Over the years the WLA has worked to receive grants to improve the watershed and educate lakefront owners on how to maintain and improve lake quality.  In 1998, working closely with Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the town of Standish, a Watershed Management Plan was created to continue to improve the water quality and protect the watershed.

Between 2000-2004, the WLA received a 319 grant with the goal of increasing awareness about problems that were impacting the watershed and increasing efforts to promote local stewardship. This was accomplished with technical consultations by the DEP to landowners seeking assistance to decrease the impact of their properties on the watershed.  And more recently, the WLA led signficant work to reduce runoff in the Paine Neighborhood area, and thus improve the watershed. To read the full report of the Watershed project for Watchic Lake visit the Gulf of Maine Watchic Lake Demonstration Project.

Watersheds come in all shapes and sizes. They cross county, state, and national boundaries. In the continental US, there are 2,110 watersheds; including Hawaii Alaska, and Puerto Rico, there are 2,267 watersheds.  For more information on watersheds in general visit the US EPA site “What is a Watershed“.