Watershed Information

What Is a Watershed?

A watershed is an area of land where water collects to flow into a river, a lake, or another large body of water.

When you think about it, we all live inside a watershed. Whether it’s the little rise that drains the rain off the front yard or the valley that carries a river from the mountains down to the sea, watersheds are at work all around us, even when it’s dry outside!

What is the Anacostia River Watershed?

If you live in, work in, or visit the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, you probably spend time inside the Anacostia River watershed. This 176 square mile area of land encompasses most of the eastern half of the District of Columbia and large portions of Prince George’s County and Montgomery County in Maryland.

This map shows the watershed’s outline. Water falling inside the red boundary line in the form of rain or snow drains into the Anacostia River and its tributaries. In turn, the Anacostia carries that water into the Potomac River where it eventually flows into the Chesapeake Bay.

The Anacostia has 13 major tributary creeks and streams: Northwest Branch, Northeast Branch, Sligo Creek, Paint Branch, Little Paint Branch, Indian Creek, Beaverdam Creek, Still Creek, Dueling Creek, Lower Beaverdam, Hickey Run, Watts Branch and Pope Branch.  Many of these creeks and streams have their own sub-watershed citizen advocacy groups.

More Watershed FAQs

Have more questions about the Anacostia River and its watershed?  Click here for answers.

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Supporters Spotlight

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The Summit Fund of Washington, D.C.Supporters of environmental advocacy and stewardship on the Anacostia River.