|Watershed Management Process|
|Characterize the Watershed|
|Set Goals and Identify Solutions|
|Design an Implementation Program|
|Implement the Watershed Plan|
|Measure Progress and Make Adjustments|
As part of the I/E program, you should have included opportunities to publicize the plan to increase awareness of the steps being taken during implementation. Continuous communication is essential to building the credibility of and support for the watershed implementation process. Lack of communication can impede participation and reduce the likelihood of successful implementation. This is especially critical if you're using a stakeholder-driven process. Transparency of the process builds trust and confidence in the outcome. Regular communication also helps to strengthen accountability among watershed partners by keeping them actively engaged. Such communication might also stimulate more stakeholders to get involved in the effort and offer new ideas or suggestions. Sharing results can also help to ensure more consistent watershed approaches across subwatersheds.
Progress and implementation results can be shared through various media formats, such as press releases, ads in local newspapers, television or radio public service announcements, or presentations at community meetings such as those of homeowner associations and local civic organizations, PTA meetings, or other gatherings of members of the watershed community. You could secure time on the local cable access station to discuss the watershed plan and share monitoring results with the public. You might also consider hosting a press conference with local officials and the stakeholders as a way to thank them for their participation and to inform the larger community about the plan's contents and how they can participate in implementing the plan.
Remember to publicize the project team's accomplishments to county commissioners, elected local and state officials, watershed residents, and other major stakeholders. The group might wish to issue a watershed report card or develop a fact sheet, brochure, or annual report to highlight its successes. Report cards let the community know whether water quality conditions are improving overall. They also allow people to compare results across specific areas to see if things are improving, whether some aspects seem to be connected, and whether a change in direction is needed to bring about greater improvements. This is an effective way to build awareness of the watershed issues and the progress of watershed plan implementation. In addition, when people see progress, they'll continue to work toward making the plan a success.