Across the watersheds the landscape becomes steeper when moving from upstream to downstream. The drop in elevation from the highest elevation, near Mitchellville, Altoona, and Bondurant, and the lowest elevation, at the Des Moines River, is greater than 250 feet.
The majority of the Mud, Camp, and Spring Creek Watersheds are located in the Des Moines Lobe landform region, near the southern terminus of this lobe that formed during the Wisconsin Glaciation between 12,000 and 15,000 years ago. The watersheds also fall into the Southern Iowa Drift Plain landform region, which is the largest of Iowa’s landforms and similar to the Des Moines Lobe because it is composed almost entirely of glacial drift. Glacial activity, other climatic events, and land use practices that followed the last glaciations have shaped the landscape, contributing to carving more defined Mud, Camp, and Spring Creek stream channels. This region has mostly level terrain and occasional bands of crooked ridges. Marshes and ponds are found between these ridges and generally have no natural drainage outlets. The landforms found in the watersheds are ground moraines on uplands, and flood plain and stream terraces. As a result, the upper portions of the watersheds have pothole characteristics, which provide depressional areas that pool runoff and help regulate flows. The lower portion of the watersheds is characterized by a gently to moderate rolling landscape and naturally well-defined drainage systems.
Primary land use varies across the Mud, Camp, and Spring Creek Watersheds. The table below gives detail to the land use of the overall watershed. As shown in the table, the watersheds are largely agricultural, grassland, and timber.
The primary soils in the Mud, Camp, and Spring Creek Watersheds are the Canisteo-Clarion-Nicollet association. Other portions of the watersheds are composed of the Tama-Muscatine association, Hayden-Storden-Lester association, the Downs-Fayette association, and the Nodaway-Colo-Nevin association. These soils range from silty clay loam to sandy loam. The majority of the watersheds are used for cropland, woodland, pasture, and hay.