• Welcome to the website for Dutchess Watershed Awareness Month and the Dutchess Watershed Coalition of Dutchess County, NY.
  • The Watershed Spirit

    Meet the Dutchess WAM Watershed Spirit. Click on the image to learn more.

  • Flickr Photos


Where does the water go? Does it go into a storm sewer and into a river or stream? Is it used to water gardens or irrigate crops? Do you wash your hands with it and let it go down the drain? Water can go into wetlands and be stored and filtered; it can also go into basements, roads, and houses when it floods.

The theme of Watershed Awareness Month this year is Where Does the Water Go? With this past year’s flooding still fresh in residents’ minds, the Dutchess Watershed Coalition wants to help residents understand where exactly their water goes and the impacts they have on both its quantity and quality.


The mission of the Dutchess Watershed Coalition is to promote awareness and active participation of the community in the stewardship of the land and water resources of Dutchess County through educational and recreational events. The Coalition is an organization made up of local watershed protection volunteer groups in conjunction with the Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Hudson River Estuary Program, and the Vassar Environmental Research Institute. For more information about the coalition or Watershed Awareness Month, contact Carolyn Klocker at 845-677-8223 or by email at cak97@cornell.edu.

What is a watershed?

A watershed is the area of land where  all of the water that falls onto the land (i.e. rain, sleet, snow, etc.) drains into a single outlet, often a stream or river. Watershed boundaries are defined by the shape of the land and are found at higher elevations like ridgelines and mountain tops. The waterbody (lake, river, stream, etc.) of the watershed is found at lower elevations, often where the land flattens out. So imagine that a watershed is like a giant bathtub, where the drain is the river, lake, or stream.  The high sides, or edges, of the bathtub are like a watershed boundary (the tops of mountains and hills) and any water that falls inside the tub (watershed) will eventually go down the drain (river) carrying dirt and soap with it. Any water that falls outside of the tub will fall into another watershed and drain into a different waterbody.

Why are watersheds important?

We rely on surface water (streams, lakes, rivers) and groundwater (water stored underground) for our drinking water supply. These waters also provide valuable recreational opportunities, aesthetics, and natural habitat to our communities.  Our water and land resources are interconnected; therefore, the actions we take on the land can have profound effects on the quality and quantity of our water resources.

For more information on the watersheds of Dutchess County, including a community discussion forum and kids activities, visit www.dutchesswatersheds.org.