The Six Steps of Watershed PlanningStep 1: Build Partnerships
The first step toward building a successful watershed plan is building the right team. Building partnerships and meeting the challenges to make them work successfully will be the foundation of your success. The very nature of working at a watershed level means you should work with at least one partner to improve watershed conditions. In addition, watershed planning is often too complex and too expensive for one person or organization to tackle alone. Weaving partners into the process can strengthen the end result by bringing in new ideas and input and by increasing public understanding of the problems and, more important, public commitment to the solutions. Partnerships also help to identify and coordinate existing and planned efforts. For example, a watershed organization might be interested in developing a volunteer monitoring program but is unaware that the local parks department is working on a similar program. Researching and identifying partners can help to avoid reinventing the wheel or wasting time and money.
Remember that watershed planning partnerships or groups are not all the same. Some address chronic problems (e.g., degrading fisheries) while others seek to address acute problems (e.g., contaminated mine drainage or heavy soil erosion). Still others are formed to build plans for broader community and environmental improvements or to prevent future problems. The degree of success achieved in watershed planning often depends on having people that can devote substantial time to the effort. Often these watershed issues are related, and therefore partnerships might need to draw from all issue groups to succeed.