Design an Implementation Program

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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 implementation plan is a road map for not only turning your management strategies from paper into reality but also for determining how you are going to measure progress toward meeting your goals. Putting the implementation pieces together involves laying out the detailed tasks that need to be done, identifying who will do them, identifying the funding and technical assistance needed, and setting up a process to measure the effectiveness of the program. The implementation plan identifies watershed management strategies and should take into consideration economic, social, and environmental factors. This section will satisfy many of the minimum elements required under section 319. The design of an effective watershed implementation plan should provide the following several key elements:

Develop an Implementation Schedule

An implementation schedule provides specific information on transforming goals and objectives into specific tasks.


The development of functional milestones provides directed assistance during the creation of your watershed plan's implementation schedule by addressing what you want to accomplish and by when. Milestones determine whether or not management practices are being effectively implemented. Specific roles and responsibilities for implementing the tasks need to be assigned.

Criteria to measure progress

Establishing criteria is important to determine if you are achieving load reductions and making progress toward your watershed goals, as well as in reevaluating implementation plans. Criteria can be expressed as indicators, for which you will want to select indicators that will provide quantitative measurements of progress toward meeting the goals and can be easily communicated to various audiences.

Monitoring Component

Monitoring programs, using criteria identifiers, can be designed to track progress in meeting load reduction goals and attaining water quality standards. Measurable progress is critical to ensuring continued support of watershed projects, and progress is best demonstrated with the use of monitoring data that accurately reflect water quality conditions relevant to the identified problems.

Information/Education Component

Every watershed plan should include an information/education (I/E) component that involves all stakeholders. Public involvement and participation helps to insure behavior modifications and the sustainability of the watershed management plan.

Evaluation Process

The evaluation process should measure not only the effectiveness of the implementation of management objectives, but also the efficiency and quality of the program.

Identify Technical and Financial Assistance

The identification and estimation of financial and technical assistance should take into account administration services such as salaries, regulatory fees, supplies, and in-kind service efforts, I/E efforts, the installation, operation, and maintenance of management measures, and activities such as monitoring, data analysis, and data management.

Results and Next Steps

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

  • Developed an implementation schedule
  • Set milestones to determine if management practices are being effectively implemented
  • Established criteria to determine if you are achieving load reductions and making progress toward your watershed goals.
  • Designed monitoring programs to track progress in meeting load reduction goals and attaining water quality standards.
  • Created an information/education (I/E) component to involve stakeholders and the local community.
  • Developed an evaluation process to demonstrate the success of the program.
  • Identified financial and technical assistance needed.
  • Assigned roles and responsibilities for completion of various tasks.

Next Steps

  • Implement the watershed plan using the outline developed by the Watershed Plan Builder tool as a guide and monitor progress towards achieving watershed goals.

Useful Tools

Category:Tools for Designing an Implementation Program is an abbreviated list of tools that might be used to help design an implementation process for your management plan. 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.