Watershed Protection

What is a watershed?

It is an area of land where all of the stormwater runoff coming from the land all drains to a specific point. Watersheds can be large or small. No matter where you live, you live in a watershed.

Each of the rivers in the Fort Wayne area receives water from its own unique watershed. Fort Wayne’s rivers are part of bigger watershed systems. The St. Joseph, St. Mary’s and Maumee Rivers all eventually go to Lake Erie. They are part of the Lake Erie watershed. The Eel River in southwest Fort Wayne flows to the Wabash River which eventually goes to the Gulf of Mexico. So the Eel River is in the Gulf of Mexico watershed.

Because the City of Fort Wayne is located on three rivers, we have an historical relationship with the rivers and a commitment to help keep them clean.

The St. Joseph Watershed Initiative

The St. Joseph River originates in Hillsdale County, Michigan. It flows southeasterly through part of Ohio before crossing into Indiana. The St. Joseph River is the source of Fort Wayne’s drinking water, so in addition to treating water and delivering it to your tap, Fort Wayne’s water utility is involved in efforts to ensure that the water arriving at the Three Rivers Water Filtration Plant is the best it can be.

In March 1996, City Utilities helped to organize the St. Joseph River Watershed Initiative. The initiative is an effort to involve interested individuals and groups from Indiana, Ohio and Michigan in voluntary efforts to protect the St. Joseph River watershed.

Learn more about the activities of the St. Joseph River Watershed Initiative.

Local Watershed Groups & Organizations

Stormwater drainage from Fort Wayne’s hard surfaces is carried to the rivers by pipes and open ditches. Whatever the stormwater runoff picks up as it flows over land and across hard surfaces is carried to the rivers. So Fort Wayne is committed to working with watershed groups in the St. Mary’s, Maumee and Wabash River basins to make sure that the stormwater runoff is as clean as possible.

Here are links to the websites of area watershed groups and other organizations that work to keep our rivers clean: