A Toolbox for Watershed Management
A Toolbox for Watershed Management
Vast amounts of material exist to guide the process of forming a watershed group, getting the public interested, writing a watershed management plan and carrying out projects in your watershed. Below are some links that I have found useful; but this is NOT a complete list. This is a toolbox, rather than a toolkit, meaning that it is a collection of a lot of useful materials rather than a guide in itself.
One place to start is the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds. http://www.epa.gov/owow/
There are great step-by-step guides available from the Conservation Technology Information Center’s (CTIC) "Know Your Watershed" site. http://ctic.purdue.edu/kyw/kyw.html
- Click through the Watershed Guides on the left hand menu. Start with "Getting to Know Your Watershed."
The "Watershed Council Toolkit" from the Sierra Nevada Alliance is also a good guide, but "Know Your Watershed" and this guide cover similar issues.
The Center for Watershed Protection has a lot of good resources. But keep in mind that the center is based in Baltimore, MD, and as a result, some of the resources have an East Coast slant. http://www.cwp.org/
Watershed Managment in California
The State Water Resources Control Board focuses on protecting water quality through watershed management. To find out more, click here.
The California Watershed Network has information from state agencies and nonprofits about watershed management and shares information among watershed groups. http://watershednetwork.org/
The California Watershed Council is a group of state agencies working to implement integrated watershed planning.
This link is a little intimidating, but you can find ALL of California's current laws here.http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html
For just the water law, click here.
Some Useful Glossaries
US Geological Survey's Water Science Glossary of Terms. Click here.
US Environmental Protection Agency's Drinking Water Glossary. Click here.
Water Quality Association's Glossary. Click here.
The Groundwater Foundation's Groundwater Glossary. Click here.
The California State Water Resources Control Board's Water Words and Acronyms. Click here.
The Metropolitan Water District's Glossary of Water Terms. Click here.
Physical Geography's Glossary. Click here.
Fluvial Geomorphology's Glossary. Click here.
Planning for Your Watershed
You will want to start by assessing your watershed to get a better idea of current conditions, understand your assets and help identify problems and solutions. The California Watershed Assessment Manual can guide you through the process. http://cwam.ucdavis.edu/
Another useful guide is part of CTIC's "Know Your Watershed" project--a guide to watershed planning.
Looking at other feasibility studies and watershed management plans can also be very helpful, and many contain sections on lessons learned meant to help other groups. Here are several local ones:
- The Arroyo Seco Watershed Restoration Feasibility Study.
- Tujunga Watershed Management Plan.
- Studies of the Malibu Creek Watershed.
- The Calleguas Creek Watershed Management Plan.
- The Santa Clara River Enhancement and Management Plan and information about the Santa Clara River and other watersheds in Ventura County.
- Master plans, which focus on the river course (and not the entire watershed), and information about planning efforts in other watersheds in LA County can be found here.
- A larger overview of watershed planning efforts in the area can be found in the Regional Water Quality Control Board’s Watershed Management Plan Update.
As you move forward with watershed management, you will need a variety of kinds of technical information for assessing your watershed and planning projects.
For lots of technical information and manuals, go to the EPA’s watershed tools directory:http://www.epa.gov/OWOW/watershed/tools/
The California Watershed Assessment Manual can guide you through the process of collecting new data about your own watershed. http://cwam.ucdavis.edu/
For assistance with planning and conducting citizen-based water quality monitoring in California, contact the State Water Quality Control Board's Clean Water Team.http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/swamp/cwt_volunteer.shtml
For a comprehensive manual for stream corridor restoration, you can download or order the "Stream Corridor Restoration: A Federal Interagency Handbook" at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/stream_restoration/
Your local Natural Resources Conservation Service can offer technical assistance, and in some cases financial assistance. http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/watershed/
Assistance with community-based processes, including help with mapping, design and facilitation, is available from the National Park Service's Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program.http://www.nps.gov/ncrc/programs/rtca/
If you are going to carry out a restoration project, you will need a variety of permits. The California Association of Resource Conservation Districts has compiled the "Guide to Watershed Project Permitting."http://carcd.org/Watershed/guidetowatershed.pdf
"A Guide to Wetland Project Permitting in Ventura County and the Santa Clara River" contains information that may be helpful throughout California. http://www.ventura.org/rma/planning/pdf/bio/FinalPDF.pdf
For information about the Army Corps of Engineers, responsible for permitting activities that might impact wetlands, and often involved in flood control, ecosystem restoration and watershed management, go to the Army Corps of Engineers http://www.usace.army.mil/Pages/default.aspx, and locallyhttp://www.spl.usace.army.mil/cms/index.php.
For specific information about permits from the California Department of Fish and Game, visithttp://www.dfg.ca.gov/habcon/envirRevPermit/.
The US Geological Survey's Web site has information you may need, such as streamflow or GIS layers, and the survey is involved in many studies. http://www.usgs.gov/
There are a few great guides on how to conduct outreach activities. These may come at the very beginning of the watershed process, or near the end in the case of some environmental education initiatives.
One of the most useful guides I have found is "Getting in Step: A Guide to Effective Outreach in Your Watershed," prepared by the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the Council of State Governments and TetraTech.http://www.epa.gov/owow/watershed/outreach/documents
If you are interested in environmental education resources and opportunities, check out the California Regional Environmental Education Community, http://www.creec.org
Though not specifically related to watershed work, the CalPhotos database from the Digital Library Project at UC Berkeley has more than 40,000 photos of plants, animals and ecosystems in California. Most are free for use toward any non-commercial purpose. Just make sure to credit the photographer! http://elib.cs.berkeley.edu/photos/
There is a great deal of money available for watershed management and restoration, and only a few grant sources are listed here.
For any and all federal grants (not just related to watershed issues), you can go to Grants.gov.http://www.grants.gov/
The US EPA Office of Water also has a catalog of federal funding sources for watershed protection, along with having its own grant programs. http://www.epa.gov/owow/watershed/wacademy/fund.html
Conservation Grants News has a huge listing of funding sources with links to their Web sites. It is a national database, but with a focus on California.
- Each month, CGN sends out a list of grant opportunities to subscribers, who pay $24 per year for a list of the newest requests for proposals (RFPs). The same list is posted a month later. Consider looking over the grant opportunities, and subscribe when you are close to action.http://www.conservationgrants.com/
- It also contains Jean’s guide to grant writing, with common sense advice about preparing proposals:http://www.conservationgrants.com/write.htm
For a list of all grant and bond programs from the State of California through the California Department of Water Resources, visit http://www.water.ca.gov/nav/nav.cfm?loc=t&id=103.
The State Water Resources Control Board administers a variety of funds, some focused on pollution reduction and others with a broader scope. http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/grants_loans/index.shtml
The Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project runs both large and small grant programs focused on site acquisition and restoration. http://www.scwrp.org/
The California Department of Fish and Game runs the Fisheries Restoration Grant Program.http://www.dfg.ca.gov/fish/Administration/Grants/index.asp
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has several grant programs that can fund watershed restoration.http://www.nfwf.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home
The Natural Resources Conservation Service funds watershed and habitat improvements on private and public land and provides technical assistance. http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/