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What is a Watershed Your lake is more than just what you see out your windows it is connected to and affected by a larger system called a watershed.A watershed is defined as all of the land area drained by a river and its tributaries.Think of it as the path of a raindrop once it hits the ground.That path is shaped by the contours of the land and by climate and vegetation.These factors moderate the flow of water from land to streams and lakes. Land use has an important impact on the water that moves through a watershed.As human activity reduces forest cover fills wetlands and paves over open land less water gets filtered into the watershed. Unfiltered surface runoff increases and nutrient and contaminant concentrations in water may reach levels that threaten the health of aquatic ecosystems. It is important to recognize that our lifestyle choices may contribute to the declining health of our lakes.A lake benefits or suffers from the cumulative actions of all the lake users within the watershed. 1