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Water: Capacity Building Resources

Forming and Planning an Organization

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General Watershed Information

  • Adopt Your Watershed — Check out this site to learn more about watersheds, add your watershed group to the catalog of more than 3,000 other groups, or participate in a chat room. This site also lists Fifteen Things You Can Do to Make a Difference in Your Watershed and more information on special projects, such as what Girl Scouts are doing to help protect their local watersheds through a new Water Drop Patch Project.
  • Know Your Watershed Exit EPA Disclaimer — CTIC has put together this web site of useful materials to assist watershed groups. It contains information on how to start a watershed group and gather information about a watershed, as well as a list of local watershed partnerships around the country.
  • National Showcase Watersheds (PDF) (226 pp, 7.5MB) — This web site contains information on the Clean Water Action Plan's 12 successful stream restoration projects.
  • Surf Your Watershed (SURF) — This site was created to enable citizens to locate and check on the health of their watersheds, identify current restoration efforts, obtain real-time water quality data for participating states, and much more. This site also offers a list of state contacts for further information.
  • Top Ten Watershed Lessons Learned — As with any change of this magnitude, there has been much trial and error when dealing with watershed issues, and important lessons have been learned that are worth sharing. Oftentimes, these lessons have been shared informally through networking at conferences, by phone, or over the Internet. Watershed Lessons Learned is EPA's attempt to identify the top lessons learned and present them in one place.
  • Watershed Information — This step-by-step interactive guide to help watershed program coordinators includes information on how to get started, offers avenues for financial and technical assistance, and explains important water-related laws.
  • Watershed Protection: A Project Focus — Check out this site to view an interactive handbook that provides a blueprint for designing and implementing watershed projects. It includes sections on defining problems, setting goals, and measuring success.

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Watershed Management Planning

  • EPA's Watershed Central: A Guide to the Watershed Management Process — This section of EPA's Watershed Central website is designed to walk you through each step of the watershed planning and implementation process.
  • Fact Sheet on EPA Resources to Facilitate Watershed Management (PDF)  (4 pp, 3.4MB) 
  • A Guide to Developing Local Watershed Action Plans in Ohio (PDF) (84 pp, 1.4MB) Exit EPA Disclaimer — This guide is designed to assist citizens, citizen organizations, businesses, and local governmental agencies start planning and implementing watershed projects. The Guide describes how to find the information and resources needed to create and implement a local watershed action plan, address multiple causes of water quality and habitat degradation in a watershed, and involve stakeholders in a process of prioritizing problems and developing integrated solutions.
  • How to Save a River: A Handbook for Citizen Action Exit EPA Disclaimer — How to Save a River presents in a concise and readable format the wisdom gained from years of river protection campaigns across the United States. The book begins by defining general principles of action, including getting organized, planning a campaign, building public support, and putting a plan into action. How to Save a River provides an important overview of the resource issues involved in river protection and suggests sources for further investigation. Numerous examples of successful river protection campaigns prove that ordinary citizens do have the power to create change when they know how to organize themselves. Order online from Amazon. Exit EPA Disclaimer
  • Indiana Watershed Planning Guide (PDF) (117 pp, 2MB) Exit EPA Disclaimer — This guide outlines the processes that have enabled watershed groups to succeed. It explores the steps to developing a watershed management plan and lists publications, web sites, governmental contacts, water quality data sources, and funding sources. It is the update of Watershed Action Guide for Indiana.
  • Lake and Reservoir Restoration Manual — This guidance manual is written for the informed citizen who is interested in lakes and reservoirs. The manual includes information to help users identify, describe, and define their lake problems and evaluate available lake and watershed management practices for addressing problems or protecting current quality. It describes the process of developing a site-specific lake or reservoir management plan and illustrates how to put a lake management plan in practice and evaluate its effectiveness. 
  • Minnesota's Crosscurrents: Managing Water Resources Exit EPA Disclaimer — This document outlines the changes needed to build on Minnesota's current management structure. For state agencies, options include developing a multiyear plan to merge regional offices, integrating financial assistance programs, and identifying additional permitting decisions that can be handled through simplified means. Investments in technology could yield major improvements throughout the management system.
  • Oregon Watershed Assessment Manual Exit EPA Disclaimer — A watershed assessment is a process for determining how well a watershed is working. This manual outlines the process of conducting an assessment, which includes a lot of public participation.
  • Section 319 Nonpoint Source Success Stories — This document demonstrates the successful implementation of the Section 319 Clean Water Act Nonpoint Source program. The report provides examples of successful solutions to a variety of water quality problems caused by nonpoint source pollution.
  • Section 319 Success Stories: Volume II Highlights of State and Tribal Nonpoint Source Programs — The second volume of Section 319 Nonpoint Source Success Stories, this document gives examples of success stories that have come with the maturation of state nonpoint source programs.

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