Identify Key Stakeholders

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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

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. They are people and organizations that have a vested interest in the successful implementation of watershed management activities. Key stakeholders also include those who can contribute resources and assistance to the watershed management effort and those who are working on similar programs that can be integrated in a larger effort. As a starting point, consider involving these entities:

  • Landowners
  • County or regional representatives
  • Local municipal agencies
  • State and federal agencies
  • Native American tribes
  • Business and industry representatives
  • Citizen groups
  • Community service organizations
  • Religious organizations
  • Universities, colleges, and schools
  • Environmental and conservation groups
  • Soil and water conservation districts

Take some time to determine the skills and resources that your stakeholders will bring to the process and what roles and responsibilities you wish them to have before you begin contacting them. This exercise will help you to determine the level of effort needed for the stakeholder process and will provide initial guidance to stakeholders. Ask yourself the following questions

  • What is the role of the stakeholders?
  • How will decisions be made?
  • Are stakeholders expected to develop any work products?
  • What is the estimated time commitment for participation?

Refer to Worksheet 3 (PDF , 622 kb, 24 pp.) on page 3-7 of EPA's Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Waters (EPA's Watershed Handbook) for a checklist of skills and resources that your stakeholders may contribute to the planning process.