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is one of our most valuable resources to humans. Every living

organism requires water in some form. As such, water regulates
population growth, influences health and living conditions, and
determines biodiversity. The presence or absence of water is
critical to determining the uses to which land can be put.
A “watershed” refers to an area that drains
into the same body of water. Watersheds
capture precipitation, filter and store water, and
determine its release. It is an integrated
system, with actions in one part of a watershed
often impacting the whole watershed; as such,
it is the most appropriate unit for water
management and related ecological values.
Is the geographic area where all water running
off the land drains to a given stream, river,
lake, wetland or coastal water.
Watershed management
seeks to ensure the wise and effective use of water resources,
and in particular the quantity and quality of water released. Over
the years watershed advocates have developed and advocated for
watershed management based upon “sustainable watershed
management principles” and the underlying concept of “integrated
watershed management.” Sustainable watershed management
principles include:
Integrated resource management by linking water quality and
quantity and the management of other resources, recognizing
hydrological, ecological, social and institutional systems, and
recognizing the importance of watershed and aquifer boundaries.
Water conservation and the protection of water quality by
recognizing the value and limits of water resources, the cost of
providing water, acknowledging both consumptive and non-
consumptive values, and balancing education, market forces and
regulatory systems.
What is Watershed Planning?
Planning means many different things to different people. Very generally,
planning attempts to apply reason to solve a specific problem and identify
steps that can be taken to reach a specific goal.

Watershed Planning
is a process for local constituents to identify and assess their natural
resource concerns and opportunities, determine the condition that meets
their needs, and formulate alternatives to achieve their goals based upon
voluntary, incentive-driven opportunities. Together, local citizens are
working to develop a locally-led, voluntary and incentive-based watershed
management plan to improve water quality while preserving the economic
sustainability of agriculture, recreation, wildlife, and municipalities.
As individuals, we make plans all the time. However, when
dealing with complicated social, environmental or economic
problems, the steps that will be followed in developing a plan
are often more formal, and will usually include some or all of
the following activities:

 Involve key decision makers and partners – Who should be

on-side to make the plan work?

 Identify or define the problem to be solved by the plan – If a

problem is defined too narrowly, you may overlook innovative

 Model or analyze the situation/problem – It is important to

understand the causes of the problem, as well as dynamics
which might help solve it.
 Determine potential solutions, examining resource requirements,
implementation, feedback procedures, etc.

 Evaluate potential solutions in terms of technical feasibility, cost

effectiveness, probable effects, political acceptability, etc.

 Make a decision.

 Implement the decision.

 Evaluate the success of the plan and its implementation. Modify

the plan as required.
A Planning Process allows people to decide how, as a group,
to move from an unacceptable present to a desirable future.
Planning, however, is not an end product. It is an on-going,
dynamic process that must be responsive and adaptive to changing
conditions, and the current social attitude or community vision.
Watershed Planning, then, is planning for the good management of
watersheds. It provides a means by which decisions are coordinated
among responsible government and private agencies and by which
land use and resource management conflicts and issues are
resolved. As such, watershed planning is a combination of scientific
and technical information with cultural and societal values. It requires
detailed information about the particular
watershed components and processes and other information.
Yet, there is no exact definition of a “watershed approach” to
planning, rather it is a social construct agreed to by people living in
that watershed. Each example of watershed planning will look quite
different, and it is crucial that watershed advocates be involved to
push for sustainable watershed management.
What is a Watershed?

Generally, a watershed is described as an area within a

hydrographic or river basin which consists of interconnected water
sources and drainages, bounded by topographic highs or water
For watershed planning and management purposes, a
watershed is an area with specified boundaries set by a group of
stakeholders who have interests in the water resources within the
Watershed Planning And Management
comprise an approach to protecting water quality and quantity that
focuses on a whole watershed. This is a departure from the traditional
approach of managing individual wastewater discharges, and is
necessary due to the nature of polluted runoff, which in most
watersheds is the biggest contributor to water pollution. Polluted runoff
is caused by a variety of land use activities, including development,
transportation, agriculture and forestry, and may originate anywhere in
the watershed. Due to its diffuse nature, polluted runoff has not been
effectively managed through regulatory programs alone.Watershed
planning and management involve a number of activities, including:
targeting priority problems in a watershed; promoting a high level of
involvement by interested and affected parties; developing solutions to
problems through the use of the expertise and authority of multiple
agencies and organizations; and measuring success through
monitoring and other data gathering.
Watershed management activities may take place at the state,
river basin, or individual watershed level. Many issues are best
addressed at the individual watershed level. For example,
identifying sources of pollution that are carried by stormwater to a
lake is best carried out by people working within that lake
watershed. Other issues are more appropriate at the basin level,
such as determining appropriate discharge limits for wastewater
licenses within the basin. Still others may best be operated at the
state level, such as the operation of a statewide permit program.