What the Heck is a HUC?

What is a HUC? Pronounced “huck,” HUC stands for Hydrologic Unit Code. Says the USGS: “The Hydrologic Unit system is a standardized watershed classification system developed by USGS in the mid 1970s. Hydrologic units are watershed boundaries organized in a nested hierarchy by size.”

Or think of nested watersheds like a set of Russian nested dolls. Large watersheds contain smaller watersheds, which in turn contain even smaller watersheds.

In Clackamas County, a practical way to view watersheds is using fifth field HUCs which seems to capture major differences in landscapes as shown on the map below:

5th Field HUCs in Clackamas County

Many state and federal agencies use these standardized divisions to help direct programs, deliver programs, and package data. The Clackamas County SWCD is considering an initiative to engage stakeholders in each 5th field HUC to help determine local natural resource concerns and receive recommendations of desired conservation actions.

The 5th Field HUC map was created by Jason Faucera.

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