Water bodies are often referred to alternately as "watersheds." A watershed is a ridge of high/higher land dividing two areas that are drained by different river systems. A watershed is the region draining into a river, river system, or other body of water and may also be referred to as a drainage basin.

How a watershed is shaped will determine how it drains, where flooding occurs, and how water quality is affected. In addition to the shape of the system, there are also weather processes that affect water quantity and quality. The graphic below shows how water moves through watersheds. This process is called the hydrologic cycle.

There are three major watersheds in Lee County; Everglades West Coast, also referred to as the Estero Bay Watershed, the Caloosahatchee Watershed and the Charlotte Harbor Watershed.