Watershed and Habitat
Ecosystem and watersheds are sometimes considered to be the same, however any one watershed may encompass multiple ecosystems, and a large ecosystem may encompass multiple watersheds.
• A watershed is a geographic region that drains into a body of water and is defined by the land forms and water flow. Hills and valleys direct water to a drainage basin such as a river, lake, or an ocean.
• Ecosystems are a functional unit that consists of the dynamic interactions between plants, animals, microorganisms and their environment. Each organism has its own niche, or role, to play; helping to maintain a delicate balance. Defined generally and at various spatial scales by structure, age, geography, condition, and other ecologically relevant factors, ecosystems include: vegetation types, plant associations, natural communities, and habitats.
Each property owner in the Cuyahoga River watershed contributes to the health or decline of the watersheds and ecosystems in the Cuyahoga Valley. The strategy of improving watersheds, ecosystems and habitats by the Cuyahoga Valley Initiative is an innovative approach that looks at the economic, environmental and social benefits of the health and diversity of the watershed.