Environmental managers in today's world face tremendous challenges in carrying out their environmental protection, restoration, and management functions. Frequently constrained by inadequate budgets or staff downsizing, managers also feel pressured to meet new expectations to address increasingly complex environmental issues in ways that will not inhibit a growing economy. Decisions must often be made with limited scientific or technical information. It is often difficult to identify true priorities. Additionally, problems such as controlling nonpoint pollution often extend beyond the purview of any single management program, requiring coordination among a myriad of public and private entities with a stake in the outcome. Many environmental managers are searching for a better way of doing business.
This tutorial will show how many of these challenges are being addressed through the development and implementation of statewide watershed management frameworks. The approach is based on some common-sense techniques such as:
- Using watersheds as a context for assessing and managing water resources.
- Strengthening internal programmatic links and relations.
- Strengthening external relations by enlisting and involving stakeholders.
- Targeting and leveraging funds and personnel.
- Using a management cycle to update priorities and action plans.
- Using scientific information in support of more defensible, cost-effective management decisions.
After describing the key components of statewide frameworks, the tutorial summarizes some important lessons learned by states that have pioneered the approach. Additionally, some key challenges to building and implementing a statewide framework are presented, along with tips for meeting these challenges.
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