Watershed Protection

Watershed Protection

Everyone lives in a watershed — an area of land that drains to a single body of water, such as a creek, a river, or a lake. However, watersheds are more than just drainage areas in and around our communities. They provide a number of critical functions such as supplying drinking water, supporting habitats for plants and animals, and providing opportunities for recreation and the enjoyment of nature.

Watersheds naturally direct water to certain regions — such as riparian zones — and having informed policy in place before building on a watershed can ensure a reduction in flooding impacts and pollutant loading, while also protecting land and water resources. Often, the most cost-effective method of mitigating flood loss and nonpoint source pollution involves using natural systems to retain what you have, restore what has been lost, and build only what you must.

A comprehensive watershed approach requires constant adjustments based on development patterns, population increases, changing land uses, the state of resources, and the institutional capacity of a community to manage its resources. The management practices listed below provide an overview of some strategies communities can adopt to better protect their water resources.

Understanding how our watersheds work is the first step to protecting our water quality from unwanted pollutants.


Check out the resources below for more information about what you can do at home to protect the watersheds of our region.

Protecting our water resources from the impacts of nonpoint source pollution is a complex challenge. Learn the basics of stormwater runoff and its impact on the Texas Coastal Zone.
Whether you were born here or you just moved here, the choices you make can have an impact on our coastal waterways. Check out this handbook for ways to manage your water usage and reduce the impact of stormwater runoff in your own neighborhood.
Protecting stormwater quality is critical to maintaining the fragile balance of water chemistry that marine species and coastal ecosystems depend on.
We all have a part to play in our water quality. Learn how simple changes in landscaping design, waste disposal, and septic system maintenance can make a huge difference downstream.

Check out the resources below for more information on what your organization, city, or county can do to protect the watersheds of our region.

Sustainable site design incorporates approaches to new development and existing development projects, which reduce impacts on watersheds by conserving natural areas and better integrating stormwater treatment and flood protection.
Find recommended performance standards and design approaches to protect water quality through low impact development and conventional practices, while also reducing water supply demand and promoting resilient practices.
Download, print, and share a user-friendly guide to different forms of drainage design that mimic natural processes and allow urban areas to slow down, spread, and keep stormwater in the area.