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What is a Watershed?

Watersheds are an integral to the survival of our environment. A watershed is an area of land on which any water within it drains to a common point. That common point may be a lake, the outlet of a river, or any point within a river system.  Just as when you pour water in a bathtub, it all ends up in the drain, when it rains on land, rainwater flows over land, farms, forests, and residential lawns to a particular body of water.  Water can flow both above the ground through lakes, streams, and wetlands, or below the ground through groundwater and springs.

Do you live in a watershed?  Of course you do… we all do! 


Do you live in a watershed?  Of course you do…we all do! 
For planning and management purposes, Genesee County has been divided into five watersheds: the Upper Flint River, the Middle Flint River, the Lower Flint River, the Shiawassee River, and the Cass River Watersheds.  The Flint River watershed is divided into three sections to make the large area that makes up this watershed easier to manage.  The Upper Flint River Watershed encompasses the area that enters the Flint River upstream of the City of Flint.  The Middle Flint River Watershed enters the Flint River within the City of Flint’s boundaries while the Lower Flint River Watershed drains to the Flint River downstream of the City of Flint.  The two other major watersheds are the Shiawassee River Watershed in the southwest of the county and the Cass River Watershed in the North. 

One watershed can be located within other watersheds.  For example, there are four sub-watersheds that make up the Middle Flint River Watershed: the Swartz Creek, the Thread Creek, the Gilkey Creek, and the Kearsley Creek Watersheds.  These sub-watersheds can be sub-divided even further.  Although the Flint River watershed is very large it, along with other watersheds, come together to form the Saginaw Bay watershed.  All of the water in the Saginaw Bay Watershed eventually flows into Lake Huron at Saginaw Bay.


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