Implement the Watershed Plan

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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

While much of the watershed planning process is focused on the development of the plan, results will not happen until the plan is actually implemented. Implementation can begin with an information/education (I/E) component or with on-the-ground management measures. Implementation activities should follow the road map developed in your plan.

Prepare Work Plans

It is helpful to develop an annual work plan that is derived from the overall watershed plan. Your annual work plan outlines a timeframe of usually two to three years. Work plans can also be used to apply for grant applications to fund many of the implementation activities.

Implement Management Strategies

Although it is important to let people know about the water quality problems in the watershed, sometimes simply informing and educating people on the issues is not enough to initiate behavior change. Keep in mind that behavior change occurs over time. First, audiences should be made aware of the issue. Then they should be educated on the problems facing the watershed. Finally, they should know what actions they can take to help address those problems. If you are going to measure behavior change in the watershed make sure you get a baseline measurement before implementation.

Conduct Monitoring

Implementing the watershed management plan involves a variety of expertise and skills, including: project management, technical expertise, group facilitation, data analysis, communication, and public relations. The management practices you identified in your plan will probably include a combination of structural and non-structural controls. Be sure to set and track the milestones to measure the rate of progress in implementing the management strategies.

Conduct Information/Education Activities

As part of the development of your watershed plan, you should have developed a monitoring component to track and evaluate the effectiveness of your implementation efforts. You can conduct your own monitoring program or piggy-back onto other monitoring efforts that might be occurring in the watershed. EPA, states, and tribes conduct intensive monitoring, assessment, and watershed planning activities to track water quality and identify polluted waters.

Share Results

Continuous communication is essential to building the credibility of and support for the watershed implementation process. As part of your information/education activities you should be highlighting key activities and results to the stakeholders and the larger community. This helps to keep them engaged and to show how their participation is making a difference.

Results and Next Steps

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

  • Prepared an annual work plan
  • Implemented information/educational activities to create awareness and change various behavior patterns within the watershed
  • Initiated the implementation of management activities
  • Conducted monitoring and analyzed samples
  • Share results from implementation activities throughout the watershed

Next steps

  • As part of implementation you will continually evaluate the progress of your efforts and determine if you need to make any changes to your watershed plan.

Useful Tools

Category:Tools for Developing Watershed Plans is an abbreviated list of tools that might be used to help developing a watershed 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. Additional tools are listed under each substep.