TRIBUTARIES AND THEIR WATERSHEDS
Every drop of water that doesn't evaporate into the air or get taken up by a green plant or tree will get to a river, lake or underground aquifer one way or another. The geology of Northeast Ohio dictates that almost all surface water falling anywhere within the areas colored blue/green/brown/yellow on the map below will eventually make its way to the Cuyahoga River by way of one of the innumberable brooks, creeks, streams or wetlands that weave their way throughout the Cuyahoga River watershed.
Water might flow across the surface into something as shallow as a swale or deep as a ravine in someone's back yard, or into a catchbasin at the curb. It might soak into the ground in your garden or get held in a wetland or a retention basin, eventually to seep down into the water table and make its way to the river underground. Some of the drops that fall closest to the river itself will make their way directly to the Cuyahoga River. Others will start their journey far away, joining progressively larger and larger waterways that will eventually take them to the river.
These intermediate waterways are the tributaries that create the Cuyahoga River. Each tributary has its own watershed that collects the water that drains from its surrounding land. The Cuyahoga River watershed is made up of 26 smaller watersheds, each with unique landforms and characteristics.
The map you see here shows all the watersheds that comprise the Cuyahoga River Watershed, and a few, the ones in pink/purple, that drain directly to Lake Erie.
You can download a pdf file of the map and chart.