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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

One means of supporting detailed scheduling and task tracking is to identify interim, measurable milestones to determine whether management practices or other control actions are being implemented (i.e. what you want to accomplish by when). This section should result in element g of the nine elements. Element g is “a description of interim measurable milestones for determining whether nonpoint source management measures or other control actions are being implemented.”

It usually helps to think of milestones in terms of relevant time scales. For example,

  • Short-term (1 to 2 years)
  • Mid-term (2 to 5 years)
  • Long-term (5 to 10 years or longer)

It is also helpful to think of the milestones as subtasks, or what needs to be accomplished over time to fully implement the practice or management measure. When determining time scales and subtasks for actions, place the milestones within the context of the implementation strategy. Given the selected practices and the available funds or time frame for obtaining grants, estimate what can be accomplished by when. First, outline the intended subtasks and the level of effort associated with each to establish a baseline for time estimates. Next, identify the responsible parties associated with the steps so that you can collectively discuss milestones and identify those which are feasible.

When selecting milestones consider economic, social, and environmental factors. Make sure that it is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant to a nonpoint source management measure, and time-sensitive. It is important to assign names and organizations associated with specific tasks in your implementation program.

Groups should also consider staff availability and funding resources as well as mechanisms to evaluate meeting the milestone. For example, will progress toward a milestone be determined through monitoring, spot-checking, participation, adoption of management practices, or some other method? Resources should be targeted toward the highest-priority milestones. Finally, your plan should also provide an approach for making adjustments if the milestones will not be met or how your program will take advantage of milestones being achieved in a significantly shorter time frame.

Useful Tools

Worksheet 12-3 (PDF, 320 kb, 28 pp.) of EPA's Watershed Handbook contains example milestones