A Shedload of Sheds

The ‘shed is an ecological framework that has expanded into a variety of topics. This post attempts to define all of the known ‘sheds and explore how they impact regional issues such as climate change, economics, and health.

Surface water flowing in a creek in North Carolina.

  • Watershed – this is by far the most well known sort of ‘shed to planners. In North America it is synonymous with a drainage basin or catchment area.  In a sense, this is the “original ‘shed” as many people are exposed to this ecological concept before they learn any others.
    • The watershed often defines where drinking water, wastewater, and drainage (stormwater management /  flood risk) are managed. While these boundaries rarely align neatly with political jurisdictions, other governance structures have been established in key areas to address impacts to these ecological systems.
    • Drainage basins don’t typically align neatly with groundwater systems. This can cause confusion in places that rely on groundwater for drinking and irrigation.
    • Active environmental management of watersheds didn’t start in the US in earnest until the 1970’s with the Clean Water Act.

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