Three Ways to the Sea
While Pennsylvania's surface waters follow six differnt routes to the ocean, most counties are wholely within a single river basin drainage such as the Ohio or Susquehanna basins. There are about twenty counties that send streams to more than one river path to the sea and of these just three counties split water in three directions. Potter County on the northern border has lands within the Ohio, Susquehanna, and Genesee river basins while Somerset and Bedford Counties lie within the Ohio, Susquehanna, and Potomac drainages, though Bedford County's Ohio basin portion is very small. The watersheds listed to the left are all either Susquehanna or Potomac tributaries and all are part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Watershed - An area of land that drains water, sediment and dissolved materials to a common receiving body or outlet. The term is not restricted to surface water runoff and includes interactions with subsurface water. Watersheds vary from the largest river basins to just acres or less in size. In urban watershed management, a watershed is seen as all the land which contributes runoff to a particular water body.
Subwatershed - a smaller geographic section of a larger watershed unit with a drainage area between 2 to 15 square miles and whose boundaries include all the land area draining to a point where two second order streams combine to form a third order stream.
Sub-basins, watersheds, sub-watersheds, and stream order
The land and waters of the northern two-thirds of Bedford County are part of the Juniata River sub-basin of the Susquehanna River basin. The Susquehanna is the longest river of the US east coast and contributes about half the freshwater inflow to the Chesapeake bay, the nation's largest estuary. The Raystown Branch is the major Juniata watershed in Bedford County, with much smaller areas along the northern border draining to the Franskstown Branch (designated as Upper Juniata catalog unit) and the Trough Creek drainage in the northeast flowing directly to the mainstem of the Juniata River (designated as Lower Juniata catalog unit) .
The southern third of Bedford County lies within the Potomac River Basin. Wills Creek and Evitts Creek flow directly into the North Branch of the Potomac in the western part of this region. In central and eastern portions of Bedford County's Potomac drainage, Town Creek, Fifteenmile Creek, and Sideling Hill Creek flow to the main stem of the Potomac. This drainage area is designated as the Cacapon-Town catalog unit and is so designated on the map