Watersheds: The Backbone of Lake Erie

By Joshua Boger

Gannon University Student Contributor


Lake Erie is one of the five Great Lakes, which is the largest freshwater system in the world. The Lake Erie basin ranks as the fifth largest watershed in Pennsylvania. A watershed refers to the total area of land that drains into a particular body of water.

In a watershed, polluted runoff flows into the larger body of water. Surface runoff may pick up trash, bacteria, and toxic chemicals and carry them into the streams and lakes. This is problematic since it is estimated that 1 million people who live within the Lake Erie Watershed obtain their drinking water from the lake.

Why Should People Care About Watersheds?
- Agricultural runoff and runoff from parking lots can negatively impact recreational activities like swimming and fishing.
- Watersheds can affect our recreational activities in Erie such as swimming or fishing.
- Protecting watersheds helps to preserve fresh drinking water for those who live in Erie.