A watershed plan is a policy document that identifies watersheds (hydrological areas where water flows downhill to a receiving waterway or waterbody) and proposes management practices that can protect or improve the water quality of the receiving waterbody for some desired use (such as boating, swimming, aquatic and nearshore habitat, or fishing).  Watersheds (and local sub-watersheds) can be managed at different scales, ranging from multi-state river basins to small stream catchment areas, as identified by their Hydrologic Unit Codes. 


Watershed plans can use topographical features to identify their boundaries and low-cost natural processes (such as buffering or infiltration) to guide their management.


The topographical boundaries of watersheds might not correspond to political boundaries, making their coordinated management more difficult between communities


Example 1: Ohio

Ohio EPA - Local Watershed Action Plan Guide


Description: A guide to developing local watershed action plans in Ohio



 Example 2: Indiana

Watershed Planning Guide

Description: Indiana Watershed Planning Guide


Example 3: Michigan

Developing a Watershed Management Plan for Water Quality: A Guide

Description: Developing a Watershed Management Plan for Water Quality: A Guide


Example 4: Illinois

Guidance for Watershed Action Plans

Description: Guidance for Watershed Action Plans in Illinois


Example 5: Indiana 

Indiana Watershed Plan Examples

Description: Example Watershed Management Plans


Photo Credit: Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning