Florida’s Watersheds

Florida Watersheds map
See a larger map.

Watershed (n): the region of land that drains into a specified body of water, such as a river, lake, sea, or ocean. Rain that falls anywhere within a given body of water’s watershed will eventually drain into that body of water.

No Matter Where You Live, You Live in a Watershed.


Watersheds map
See a larger map.

Watersheds come in many different sizes: a few acres might drain into a small stream or wetland; a few large rivers might drain into an estuary where salt water and fresh water mix.

From a large-scale watershed perspective, Gainesville lies on the border of the Santa Fe and Ocklawaha watersheds. See the map (top; right column) to view Florida’s major watershed boundaries.

On a smaller scale, Gainesville is home to 10 sub-watersheds, including the Lake Alice watershed, which contains most of the University of Florida campus.

See a larger map of Gainesville’s sub-watersheds, courtesy of Alachua County EPD »

UF Watersheds

On Our University Environment

UF Watersheds
See a larger map.

The map to the above shows that campus drains to three main sub-watersheds. More than 60 percent of campus is contained within the Lake Alice watershed. Outskirt areas on campus drain into Tumblin Creek and Hogtown Creek. Some parts of campus are internally drained, emptying into sink holes or depression areas that move surface water directly into the aquifer below.

1,850 acres on main Gainesville campus

  • 40% of that is impervious surface that water cannot penetrate*
    (including 900 buildings, sidewalks, streets, and parking lots)
  • 60% is unpaved
    (including 400 acres set aside as conservation areas, green space, passive and active recreation areas, and landscaping around buildings)

*All impervious surfaces drain stormwater into the stormwater sewer system which conveys through culverts, creeks and ponds that all terminate in campus waterbodies, thus increasing the amount of water that would naturally drain to waterbodies.

Your Actions Matter to Your Entire Watershed

The actions of people who live in a watershed affect the health of the waters that drain through it. Whenever rain falls on land, chemicals, fertilizers, sediment and other pollutants from the land are washed into the watershed’s creeks, streams, wetlands and rivers, potentially all the waters along its path.

More Information