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. Drop by drop, water is channeled into soil, groundwater, creeks and streams, soon making its way to larger bodies of water and eventually out to sea.
Watersheds come in all shapes and sizes; they cross local, state, and national boundaries. An important thing to remember about watersheds is that what we do on land affects water quality for all communities living downstream.
Community-based watershed groups across the state work to protect and restore Ohio's water resources at the local level. A strong and vibrant watershed community is critical to protecting and restoring Ohio's rivers and streams.
Around Ohio, local watershed groups come together to mentor each other and advocate for their common interest. The OEC's Watershed Program works around the state to strengthen individual watershed groups and unite them into regional watershed councils.
Ohio Regional Watershed Councils
Central Ohio Watershed Council
The Central Ohio Watershed (COW) Council is a forum that meets quarterly to bring together citizen-based watershed groups in Central Ohio.
The COW Council provides regional watershed organizations with an opportunity to network, share experiences and work on a collaborative regional approach to watershed protection and restoration. Formed by the OEC in the late 1990’s, the COW Council has focused on riparian corridor protection, wetland and stream mitigation, and stormwater impacts.
- Chair: Kurt Keljo, Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District
- Secretary: Alice Waldhauer, Friends of the Ravines
- Communications Director: Claire Childers, Ohio Environmental Council
- Treasurer: Alex Silbajoris, Friends of the Scioto River
- Google Group: firstname.lastname@example.org
Northeast Ohio Watershed Council
The Northeast Ohio Watershed (NEO) Council meets every other month, bringing together citizen-based watershed groups in Northeast Ohio.
The NEO Council's mission is to provide networking and mentoring opportunities for watershed groups in Northeast Ohio, and to provide a collaborative forum for education, discussion, assessment, and adoption of advocacy positions regarding water quality, quantity, restoration, preservation, and distribution issues.
Formed by the OEC in 2001, the NEO Council focuses on such issues as local watershed restoration, local land use, state legislation, and state rulemaking.
Northwest Ohio Watershed Council
The Northwest Ohio Watershed (NOW) Council is a forum that meets quarterly to bring together citizen-based watershed groups in Northwest Ohio.
The NOW Council provides regional watershed organizations with an opportunity to network, share experiences and work on a collaborative regional approach to watershed protection and restoration.
Formed by the OEC in 2007, the NOW Council has focused on such issues as agricultural waste management.
Southeast Ohio Watershed Council
The OEC helped to create and organize the Southeast Ohio Watershed (SEOW) Council as a cooperative venture with Rural Action to address the needs of watershed groups in southeast Ohio’s coal mining region.
The SEOW Council actively educates watershed residents, local officials and key state and federal legislative representatives on the specific issues that address watershed impairments.
The expansion of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking”) in the Southeastern region of Ohio, along with mining practices that in some cases have rendered streams devoid of life because of acid mine drainage and runoff, are issues SEOW Council continues to focus on.
Southwest Ohio/Great Miami River Watershed Council
The Watershed Network meets quarterly to discuss items of mutual concern, share ideas and effectively leverage resources. Participants of the Network include, but are not limited to, watershed coordinators, soil and water conservation professionals, Ohio State University Extension personnel, environmental planners, as well as representatives from local governments, businesses, state agencies and universities.
- Matt Lindsay, Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission