Build Partnerships

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Watershed Management Process
Build Partnerships
Characterize the Watershed
Set Goals and Identify Solutions
Design an Implementation Program
Implement the Watershed Plan
Measure Progress and Make Adjustments

The very nature of working at a watershed level means you should work with at least one partner to improve watershed conditions because it is often too complex and too expensive for a single entity. New ideas and input from partners not only provides a more solid commitment to solutions, but also helps to leverage resources. Stakeholders' involvement also increases the probability of long-term success through trust, commitment, and personal investment. Critical elements of this step are listed below.

Identify Key Stakeholders

Stakeholders are defined as those who make and implement decisions, those who are affected by the decisions made, and those who have the ability to assist or impede the implementation of the decisions. 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 to get involved if you can show them a clear benefit to their participation.

Identify Issues of Concern

Issues of concern can be identified when meeting with relevant stakeholders. These issues will help to shape the goals and to determine what types of data are needed. Understanding the links between concerns, pollutants or "stressors", and the impacts in the watershed is critical to the success of your watershed management effort.

Set Preliminary Goals

The more specific your preliminary goals, the easier it will be to develop concrete objectives to achieve the goals. As you move through the planning process you should build on your goals, developing indicators and specific management objectives to measure progress. Establish measurable targets to determine when you have achieved your goals.

Develop Indicators

Indicators are either direct or indirect measurements of a component or quality in a system. Indicators provide a powerful means of communicating to various audiences about the watershed status and program progression and are used throughout the planning and implementation process. Indicators should be quantitative so that the effectiveness of management measures can be predicted. Select indicators that can be used to measure the current health of the watershed. Stakeholders should be actively involved in selecting the indicators.

Conduct Public Outreach

Information/education (I/E) or outreach activities are needed at the very beginning of the watershed planning effort to familiarize potential partners and stakeholders with the issues, the watershed planning process, and to enlist their participation. Outreach and education committees can help develop outreach materials and activities to raise public awareness, and to provide education about management implementation strategies and best management practices. All communication materials should be targeted to specific audiences.

Results and Next Steps

At the end of this step you should have completed the following:

  • Identified a preliminary list of stakeholders who you think should be involved in the watershed planning effort.
  • Outlined some initial goals for the watershed planning effort that you can refer to and refine throughout the planning process.
  • Developed a set of indicators that you will use to measure the current health of the watershed and can then be used to measure progress once you implement the watershed plan.
  • Conducted some initial public outreach to make the community aware of the watershed planning effort and to help you recruit partners.

Next Steps:

  • Work with your stakeholders to characterize the watershed.

Useful Tools

Category:Build Partnerships Tools is an abbreviated list of tools that might be used to help build partnerships. Each tool has a watershed central collaborative content area (where the tools can be discussed and rated) as well as links to the actual tool. More tools are listed under each substep.