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The types of indicators are programmatic, environmental and social indicators.

  • Programmatic
    • Number of BMPs installed, plans approved, training workshops held, brochures distributed, volunteer hours logged, etc.
  • Environmental
    • Biological: macroinvertebrates, bacteria, riparian cover
    • Physical: Flow, temp, turbidity, habitat, pool/riffle ratios
    • Chemical: DO, pH, nutrients, metals, pesticides
  • Social
    • Number of farmers requesting technical assistance
    • Percentage of the surveyed target audience that accurately identified the top two pollutants affecting their watershed 30-days after reading the newspaper insert


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Step 3: Finalize Goals and Identify Solutions (cont.)

Setting Indicators and Targets
Once you have established specific management objectives, you’ll develop environmental indicators and numeric targets to quantitatively evaluate whether you are meeting your objectives. The indicators are measurable parameters that will be used to link pollutant sources to environmental conditions. Indicators include a measurable parameter, a measure of change and a time frame. Here are some examples:

  • The pollutant load has decreased by 10% in 3 years.
  • 12% of the community reports an increase in awareness of watershed issues over a 3 month period.
  • Committed funds have increased by 50% over 4 months.
There are three main types of indicators. Programmatic indicators measure the success of the nuts and bolts of the program or project planning process. Programmatic indicators help determine things like whether sound objectives were developed, time frames set, and staff assigned appropriately.

Environmental indicators are important because they will help document environmental results such as pollutant load reductions. For a list of environmental indicators and a description of how they are used to identify relationships between pollutant sources and environmental conditions, refer to this indicators table (see page 4-11 in Handbook for a list of other indicators).

Social indicators measure change in awareness or behavior as a result of programmatic activities. These indicators can only indirectly measure environmental impact. Social indicators can help you draw some conclusions about environmental achievements likely to be made as a result of actions taken by stakeholders and the public in general. For example, if you know that 40 more people signed up for the volunteer monitoring program than last year, you can assume that the program has collected more environmental data, covered more stream segments, or addressed more problems than before. Ideally, you will want to use a combination of all three types of indicators to get the best picture of how things are progressing.

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Section 22 of 43