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A Hydrologic Primer for New Jersey Watershed Management

Water-Resources Investigations Report 00-4140
Prepared in cooperation with the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection

ABOUT THIS REPORT

This hydrologic primer is designed to provide an introduction to basic hydrologic concepts and a "snapshot" of selected data-collection efforts used to assess the quality and quantity of water resources in New Jersey, and is not an exhaustive compilation of all data-collection programs that are underway in the State. Additional data collected by the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection, other Federal, State, and local governments agencies, and private organizations that are not presented in this report may be available. Additionally, because the Watershed Management Program is a dynamic program that is continually evolving, the number and locations of data-collection sites and the locations of watershed-management-area boundaries presented in this report may not reflect those in the current program.

WHY READ THIS REPORT?

  • To learn basic concepts about watersheds.
  • To learn what information (data) is collected in your watershed and other watersheds in New Jersey
  • To learn why the data are collected and what they are used for, and
  • To provide information needed to get involved and make a difference in the management and health of your watershed.

WHAT IS A WATERSHED?

A watershed is an area of land that drains all the streams and rainfall to a common outlet such as the outflow of a reservoir, mouth of a bay, or any point along a stream channel (McCann, 1992). The word watershed is sometimes used interchangeably with drainage basin or catchment. Ridges and hills that separate two watersheds are called the drainage divide. The watershed consists of surface water--lakes, streams, reservoirs, and wetlands--and all the underlying groundwater (McCann, 1992).

Download a copy of this report (PDF):

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