Know Your Watersheds

A Watershed Is...

An area of land where all of the water that drains off of it flows to a particular point such as a stream, lake, or other body of water. Watersheds are usually bordered and separated from neighboring watersheds by mountain ridges, or as is the case here in Edmond, by naturally elevated areas. The map at the bottom of this page shows seven local watersheds, each named for the major stream or lake within its boundaries. For example, surface water flowing over the land in Edmond's Coffee Creek Watershed drains to Coffee Creek. All seven of Edmond's watersheds are part of a larger regional watershed that eventually drains to the Gulf of Mexico!

Protect Your Watersheds

Clean water starts with you! No matter where you live, you live in a watershed. Coffee Creek, Chisholm Creek, and Arcadia Lake-Deep Fork Watersheds are more highly developed than the remaining four watersheds. During a rain storm, impervious surfaces in these watersheds such as roads, parking lots, rooftops, and compacted soils increase the volume of stormwater runoff by preventing rain water from seeping into the soil. Instead, these surfaces direct pollutant-laden runoff into our stormwater drainage system, which drains to Edmond's streams and lakes. Polluted runoff can contaminate drinking water sources, degrade water quality, impair fish and wildlife habitat, and reduce biological diversity. High stormwater volumes can also increase flooding, erode stream channels, and reduce groundwater recharge.

Most contaminants found in stormwater in Edmond's watersheds come from nonpoint sources such as oil leaking from cars, fertilizers and pesticides from yards, and pet waste. These seemingly small sources add up to significant water quality problems in urban streams throughout our watersheds, but each of us can do small things to improve the health of our streams and lakes, too.Try some of these ideas in your home or yard:

  • Direct rainwater from your gutters into a rain barrel or rain garden
  • Plant native shrubs and trees to absorb rainwater
  • Keep your vehicles tuned up and repair oil leaks quickly
  • Wash your car on the lawn, not the driveway
  • Limit the use of yard fertilizers and pesticides
  • Use non-toxic household cleaners whenever possible, and properly use, store, and dispose of all household chemicals
  • Limit household water use
  • Clean up litter from the street in front of your home to prevent stormdrains from clogging

How to get involved

Edmond's Watershed Management Programs & Events:

SWAB - Edmond's Stormwater Drainage Advisory Board is comprised of five members; two are from the City Council and three are appointed citizens. The SWAB provides policy guidance to the City Council covering stormwater drainage management, Floodplain management, regional master drainage studies, drainage construction projects, drainage variance requests, and improving the water quality of the City's waterbodies through its Stormwater Quality Program (EPA NPDES Program) are examples of items that fall under the purview of this Board. The City of Edmond encourages citizen participation on the boards and commissions that provide guidance for the betterment of our City.

Stormdrain Marking Program - To help reduce urban stormwater pollution, we encourage volunteers to participate in marking neighborhood stormdrains. A storm drain marking project is a great way to spread the word throughout Edmond to take action to prevent water pollution. For more information, please visit the program's page.

Recycling - Many of the items we store in our homes may contain hazardous components. The unused or leftover products are known as "household hazardous waste" (HHW). If thrown in the trash, these items can contaminate our environment by affecting streams, lakes, wildlife and possibly even our drinking water. Fortunately, Edmond's Solid Waste Services offers a convenient and safe way to dispose of your HHW and e-waste (electronic waste). Please view their site for a full list of services.

Operation Clean Community - Held every spring, Edmond’s annual Operation Clean Community event, sponsored by Edmond Beautiful and the City of Edmond, is an excellent opportunity for families, church groups, civic clubs and organizations to make a positive difference in the appearance of our city. The clean-up effort is in conjunction with the statewide Trash-Off Day, which is sponsored by the Beautification Office of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. 

Arcadia Lake Sweep - This annual event encourages volunteers to participate in cleaning up the area surrounding Lake Arcadia. During last year's event (April 2019), a crew of 50 volunteers collected 68 bags of trash, plus other items like tires! That amounts to 360 cubic feet of waste! Additional clean-up events were organized by other groups in 2019, such as Boy Scout Troops, churches, businesses, Edmond Public Schools, and UCO. These groups brought 472 volunteers to Arcadia Lake and collected a total of 868 bags of trash in 2019! 

Urban Forestry Programs - The purpose of Edmond’s Urban Forestry Department is to promote, preserve, and enhance Edmond’s regional urban forest and overall environment through outreach, active forest resource management, and sustainable environmental stewardship as Edmond grows and develops. Urban Forestry's efforts also include increasing the urban tree canopy which plays a key role in mitigating stormwater flows, reducing heat island effects, and reducing air pollution. Forests are the least polluting land use, a mainstay for producing clean water and viable wildlife habitat, and a major factor in urban quality of life.

Additional Opportunities Offered by State & Federal Agencies, & Non-Profit Organizations:

EPA's Local Watershed Projects - Are you interested in finding out more information about watershed assessment or protection activities occurring here in Oklahoma? If so, visit the EPA’s Healthy Watershed Protection webpage to learn about opportunities to get involved in activities such as volunteer water monitoring, stream cleanups, and storm drain marking.

Blue Thumb - Oklahoma's Blue Thumb Program is a state-wide water pollution education program of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission's Water Quality Division. The goal of Oklahoma's Blue Thumb Program is to protect water resources against nonpoint source pollution by empowering citizens to protect water quality.
This is accomplished through:

  • Educational Workshops
  • Demonstrations & Presentations
  • Tours
  • Stream Monitoring
Edmond's Stormwater Quality staff receive notification from Blue Thumb when they will be offering training in our area, and we forward this information to local schools. Training sessions introduce participants to stream ecology, with the presenters covering pollutants, watersheds, water chemistry, monitoring, field collections, stewardship, environmental education, volunteer responsibilities, and many additional topics.

OCLWA - The Oklahoma Clean Lakes & Watershed Association is a non-profit organization concerned with lake and watershed issues. Their mission is to provide a forum for scientists, government officials, lake users, consultants, citizens, and professionals to exchange ideas, receive education, and form partnerships to foster sound management and protection of lakes and watersheds. Please visit their page for information about upcoming stream clean-ups and educational activities.

We all live in a Watershed, can you find where you live?

Click on the name of one of Edmond's watersheds to view a Fact Sheet poster about that particular watershed. These posters are currently being developed so if one is not available for the watershed you are interested in, please check back soon! These 11"x17" educational posters are available for download for educational purposes, as well as the map shown below displaying all seven of Edmond's watersheds.
1. Lower Cottonwood Creek
4. Arcadia Lake-Deep Fork
7. North Deep Fork
3. South Deep Fork
6. Soldier Creek 
Website Watershed Pic 4.jpg