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Environment and Conservation and the Tennessee Department of Transportation have partnered to locate unique Watershed Signs along interstate and state highway routes. These signs increase public awareness about the importance of watersheds and encourage good stewardship of the state’s valuable rivers, streams, wetlands, lakes and ground water.


Watershed Signs


Click here to view watershed signs
Click here for a Watershed Sign message from Deputy Commissioner Paul Sloan

What is a watershed?

A watershed is the entire land area that drains into a lake, river, or other water body. Watersheds can be small, like the area that drains into a neighborhood creek, or large, like all the area that drains into a large river.

Why do watersheds matter?

Watersheds are a logical way to think about the connection between the land and the quality of water we enjoy.  How we manage and treat the land has a direct impact on the ability of water to support a number of important public uses like swimming, fishing, aquatic species habitat and drinking water supply.

We all live downstream from someone, and what happens in a watershed does not just stay in that watershed. 

How are watersheds identified?

Tennessee's waters are best assessed and water quality problems best addressed at the watershed level.  Tennessee organizes its water resource planning around watersheds in order to provide a meaningful process for maintaining or restoring the health of our streams, lakes and rivers. Our department has identified 55 watersheds in Tennessee, and we use them as core building blocks for our watershed management approach.

Biologists and environmental specialists are continually collecting, analyzing and interpreting water data from watersheds in order to indicate the quality of the state’s waters. Informing citizens about watersheds close to home offers a better understanding of how activities in individual watersheds affect the quality of water in their communities and adjoining watersheds. 

How can you find out about a watershed of interest?

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s provides a variety of detailed online materials regarding watersheds and watershed management

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers Surf Your Watershed as a service to help you locate, use, and share environmental information about your state and watershed.