NOTICE: This PDF file was adapted from an on-line training module of the EPA’s You are (or would like to be) part of a local watershed planning process.
46 pages

171 KB – 46 Pages

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WATERSHED ACADEMY WEB 1 INTRODUCTION TO WATERSHED PLANNING NOTICE: This PDF file was adapted from an on – Watershed Academy Web, found at http://www.epa.g ov/watertrain . To the extent possible, it contains the same material as the on – line version. Some interactive parts of the module had to be reformatted for this noninteractive text presentation. A self – test is included at the end of the file. This documen t does not constitute EPA policy. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute endorsement or recommendation for use. Links to non – EPA web sites do not imply any official EPA endorsement of or responsibility for the opinions, ideas, da ta, or products presented at those locations or guarantees the validity of the information provided. Links to non – EPA servers are provided solely as a pointer to information that might be useful to EPA staff and the public.

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WATERSHED ACADEMY WEB 2 INTRODUCTION TO WATERSHED PLANNING Welcome to the Introduction to Watershed Planning module. The goal of this module is to introduce a flexible framework for watershed planning and point out key factors that hel p make planning successful. Local planning processes generally address problems or may seek to protect or improve quality of life. Watershed planning is no different. Some watershed planning groups convene to address chronic problems like degrading fisher ies, while others seek to address acute problems like contaminated mine drainage or heavy erosion along streambanks. Other planning efforts may bring together citizen groups, local agencies and states to work together on plans for community and environment al improvements. The degree of success achieved in watershed planning often depends on having people that can devote substantial time to the effort. This learning module is for you if You are (or would like to be) part of a local watershed planning proce ss. You would like to protect or improve the quality of life in your area. You have questions about regulations, funding, or where to find help. Much of this material is based on the Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and prot ect our Waters (EPA 2008) ( ) and the Watershed Plan Builder ( http: // ) . This Handbook is intended to help communities; watershed organizations; and state, local, tribal and federal environmental agencies develop and implement watershed plans to meet water quality standards and protect water resourc es. It will be particularly useful to persons working with impaired or threatened waters. The goals of this module are as follows: Introduce a flexible framework for watershed planning. Point out key factors that help make successful plans. Familiarize you with: Six Steps to Watershed Planning These are the general steps you would take to improve management of a watershed for any number of purposes (Figure 1) . Your goals could be flood protection, restoring wetlands and other critical habitats, or managing stormwa ter. This module and the Handbook it Figure 1

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WATERSHED ACADEMY WEB 3 INTRODUCTION TO WATERSHED PLANNING summarizes were intended to help watershed managers address water pollution problems; so there will be many references to water pollutants, water quality standards, and a variety of state and local land use issues affec ting water quality. For any project involving managing water resources, it is difficult to achieve success without help and expertise; that in this process and necessary to accomplish your goals. Watershed Plans While the emphasis of the Handbook and this module are on the six steps of watershed Clean Water Act grant guidelines re projects that are required for watershed – based plans that are developed and implemented with section 319 funds (Figure 2 ) . An additional goal of the Handbook (and this module) is to show both how the nine elements p resented in the Clean Water Act section 319 guidelines serve as building blocks to develop watershed plans and where these elements fit within the six steps of the watershed planning process. More information on the relationship between the six steps of wa tershed planning and the 9 elements of a watershed plan are provided in section 4 . No matter where we live or work, we are in a watershed teeming with unique, inter – related natural processes. These natural forces hel p shape the watershed landscape, its water quality, and in turn our lives. Each watershed has unique living and nonliving components that interact, with one element responding to the action or change of another. Knowing your watershed means coming to learn the natural processes working within the watershed boundaries (Figure 3 ) . Careful watershed planning does more than just protect the water and the plants and animals that actually live in the water. It can help protect the physical, chemical, and biologi cal components of your watershed, or restore those that have already been degraded. A watershed provides an integrating context for solving a multitude of Figure 3 Figure 2

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WATERSHED ACADEMY WEB 4 INTRODUCTION TO WATERSHED PLANNING W ater quality standards are the foundation of the water quality based control program mandated by the Clean Water Act . Water q uality s tandards define the goals for a waterbody by designating its uses, setting criteria to protect those uses , and establishing provisions to protect water quality from degrading. waste and water problems. Watershed plans can be used to help attain or maintain water quality standa rds to protect the flora and fauna that make up carefully balanced ecosystems, and to restore ecosystems whose balance has been disturbed or destroyed. Because watersheds are defined by natural hydrology, they represent the most logical basis for managing water resources. The resource becomes the focal point, and managers are able to gain a more complete understanding of overall conditions in an area and the stressors that affect those conditions. Watershed planning provides a context for integration, by u sing practical, tangible management units that people understand, focusing and coordinating efforts, and finding common ground and meeting multiple needs. Additionally, this process yields better management by generating ecologically based, innovative, cos t – effective solutions, forging stronger working relationships, and supporting consistent, continuous management of the resource. In this module you will learn about the framework needed to conduct a successful watershed planning ef fort. The basis for this framework is built around the six steps of watershed planning that are discussed in detail in the Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Waters ( ) . The Handbook provides information on the processes and tools to quantify existing pollutant loads, develop estimates of load reductions needed to meet water quality criteria, and identify the practices that need to be implemented to achieve those reductions. This module provides a basic overview of the concepts presented in the Handbook. An additional goal of the Handbook (and this module) is to show how the 9 elements in the Clean Water Act section 319 grant guidelines are used to develop watershe d plans and to show where they fit within the six steps of the watershed planning process. The nine elements are the components of the watershed planning process that EPA feels are critical to preparing effective watershed plans to address nonpoint source p ollution (Figure 4 ) . If your water resource management goals deal with point sources of pollution (those with discharge pipes and permits), drinking water protection, protecting critical habitats, or other issues, there might be other key elements in addition to t hese described above.

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WATERSHED ACADEMY WEB 5 INTRODUCTION TO WATERSHED PLANNING The process of creating and implementing a watershed plan is dynamic and iterative by nature (Figu re 5 ) . Because the variables involved in developing the plan are always ch anging, your plan will change with them. You might collect data situation, and make changes as necessary. Once you implement your plan, the feedback collected during your eva luation will give you the information you need to update your plan and continue to document water quality improvements and make progress toward attaining water quality standards. Do not be discouraged if all your intended results are not met in the first o r second cycle of your planning Figure 4 Figure 5

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WATERSHED ACADEMY WEB 6 INTRODUCTION TO WATERSHED PLANNING process. Remember that even small progress is success as long as it is paired with ongoing commitment and diligence! Watershed plans should ideally address all water quality impairments and the sources and causes of those i mpairments. Your watershed plan should address the sources and causes of immediate threats, but also any pollutants or threats (e.g., loss of natural vegetation, changes in water flow, or increases in impervious areas) of pollutants that might affect the l ong – term health of the watershed Step 1: Build Partnerships The first step toward building a successful watershed plan is building the right team. Building partnerships (Figure 6 ) and meeting the challenges to make them work s uccessfully will be the foundation of your success . The very nature of working at a watershed level means you should work with at least one partner to improve watershed conditions. In addition, watershed planning is often too complex and too exp ensive for one person or organization to tackle alone. Weaving partners into the process can strengthen the end result by bringing in new ideas and input and by increasing public understanding of the problems and, more important, public commitment to the s olutions. Partnerships also help to identify and coordinate existing and planned efforts. For example, a watershed organization might be interested in developing a volunteer monitoring program but is unaware that the local parks department is working on a similar program. Researching and identifying partners can help to avoid reinventing the wheel or wasting time and money. Remember that watershed planning partnerships or groups are not all the same. Some address chronic problems (e.g., degrading fisherie s) while others seek to address acute problems (e.g., contaminated mine drainage or heavy soil erosion). Still others are formed to build plans for broader community and environmental improvements or to prevent future problems. The degree of success achiev ed in watershed planning often depends on having people that can devote substantial time to the effort. Often these watershed issues are related, and therefore partnerships might need to draw from all issue groups to succeed. Figure 6

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WATERSHED ACADEMY WEB 8 INTRODUCTION TO WATERSHED PLANNING Community – Driven Issues Often the decision to develop a watershed plan comes from within the community. People have a desire to protect what they have or to resto re water resources for future generations. Some compelling issues include flood prevention, development pressures, or a desire to protect drinking water sources. Identify and Engage Relevant Stakeholders and Local Issues Successful development and imple mentation of the watershed plan will depend primarily on the commitment and involvement of community members . Therefore, it is critical to build partnerships with key interested parties at the outset of the watershed planning effort. People and organizatio ns that have a stake in the outcome of the watershed plan are called stakeholders ( Figure 8 ) . Stakeholders that participate in the decision – making process are more willing to share in the responsibility to implement those decisions. Stakeholders are import ant to the process for several reasons, including ensuring that all concerns are factored into the plan that is developed (Figure 9 ) . It is essential that all categories of potential stakeholders are identified and included, not just those who volunteer to participa te. Key stakeholders also include those who can contribute resources and assistance to the watershed planning effort and those who are working on similar programs that can be integrated into a larger effort. Keep in mind that stakeholders are more likely t o get involved if you can show them a clear benefit to their participation. Success depends on involving a good mix of people and organizations to put together and implement the plan. You will need to find people to play a number of roles including the fol lowing: Technical Education Community and Learning Leadership Communication Public Policy Figure 8 Figure 9

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WATERSHED ACADEMY WEB 9 INTRODUCTION TO WATERSHED PLANNING One way to identify key stakeholders is to chart them. The worksheet s hown below in Figure 10 will help you strategically target your outreach to potential partners. Figure 10

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WATERSHED ACADEMY WEB 10 INTRODUCTION TO WATERSHED PLANNING A di verse group has a better chance of fulfilling these roles by bringing different talents, interests, concerns, and values to the table. Some people who live outside the watershed (e.g., recreational boaters, anglers) might even have an important role to pla y because they benefit from or affect water or other natural resources within the watershed. It s important to realize that no matter who becomes involved in your effort, a successful partnership takes time to develop, and you can expect some highs and som e lows along the way. Strategies for Success Building a successful partnership takes skill, time and patience ( Figure 11 ) . Here are some specific strategies that will help your watershed group’s chances of succeeding . Identify and involve the right peopl e; those who are affected by and interested in watershed protection. Select leadership from within and allow these leaders to emerge from among the members of the partnership. Build a common purpose by developing a concise purpose statement that defines ge neral goals and responsibilities of the partnership. Focus on the future in setting clear and attainable goals. Make best use of talents by building the strengths. Encourage communication and participation, whic h will promote a spirit of trust and cooperation. Set up a flexible organization, allowing your group to determine how the partnership should function. Know your capacities, skills, and financial resources; carefully consider the resources that are availab le to the group both from within the group and outside the group. Cultivate trust and develop a process for working together that feels comfortable a process in which leadership and talents can flourish in an atmosphere of trust and productivity. Inform ation on Why Partnerships Succeed or Fail Why Partnerships Succeed? Partnerships are successful for a number of reasons. Your challenge is to determine what motivates people and make sure these motivations are addressed. As described in the Conservation Te Building Local Partnerships , key reasons partnerships succeed include the following: Members enjoy working with others. Partnership provides opportunities to meet new challenges. Success depends on involving a good mix of people and organizations who have a stake in the watershed. Figure 11

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WATERSHED ACADEMY WEB 11 INTRODUCTION TO WATERSHED PLANNING Potential for professional and pe rsonal growth. Sense of accomplishment. External factors motivate involvement (e.g., public expectations, organizational mandate, job description). Members see a chance to address new challenges or expand their skills. Members want to demonstrate broader a bilities to their home organizations. Community interest and support for the group runs high. Additionally, informal social interaction can provide the glue that holds a partnership together. Encourage these types of interactions and build on the motivatio ns. Why Partnerships Fail? Most people agree with the notion of partnership, at least in principle. However, partnerships can be unsuccessful for a variety of reasons, including the following: Past failures. Lack of commitment and financial support. Worry about lost independence. Lack of credit for own contributions. Personality conflicts. Power struggles or turf battles. Disagreement on realistic roles and responsibilities. Differences in cultural and personal values. Low or controversial community inter est and support for the group. Rigid attitudes about the problems or possible solutions. Misunderstandings and incomplete communication. Overcoming Potential Obstacles Some of the potential obstacles to success can be overcome by getting started on the r ight foot ( Figure 12 ) . Some helpful hints include: Pay particular attention to the early meetings and activities First impressions mean a lot. People are often skeptical at the first meeting and might be suspicious of other partners. Incorporate ice break er activities into your first meeting to encourage conversation and alleviate any tension. Set ground rules The group will probably need to set some specific ground rules related to meeting participation, discussion, confidentiality, constructive feedbac k and expected contributions. Start with a few short – term tasks that have a good chance for success Be sure that early projects are realistic and will be seen as winners in the eyes Figure 12

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