GIS and Stakeholder Involvement: A Customized Watershed Planning Process


Jan. 25, 2007


Swick, H

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Galveston Bay Estuary Program


As local government agencies seek out new strategies for managing growth and protecting open space, The Trust for Public Land (TPL) has developed a set of tools that can make land conservation easier. Greenprinting, a program that combines Geographic Information System (GIS) tools and stakeholder input, creates visual conservation scenarios that help a community make informed conservation decisions. The result is a prioritization map and a set of implementation strategies that establish clear action steps for conserving land for people. The Greenprinting model systematically analyzes public goals, including quality of life issues such as improving water quality, providing access to water, and reducing flood damage. The model identifies currently unprotected areas that offer highest conservation benefit. TPL is using the greenprinting tool is a watershed-planning program, Saving Our Coastal Heritage, to protect valuable watersheds in the Galveston Bay community. The first demonstration project addressed issues in the Armand Bayou watershed, and will be the focus of this presentation. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, through the Texas Coastal Management Program, funded this project, with additional support from the Galveston Bay Estuary Program of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and local foundations. The program is accomplished in three phases. Phase I, a watershed assessment, including Greenprinting, identifies key challenges in the watershed. During this first phase, existing watershed data is collected. TPL works with local professionals to integrate existing watershed data into priority indices, such as: habitat conservation, stormwater management, and water quality. To initiate the project, local committee members meet at a kick-off to identify key watershed issues and information needs. At Watershed Analysis meetings, stakeholders: (a) provide input for the GIS data and modeling, (b) prioritize issues, (c) identify key questions to be addressed during the exchange, and (d) identify the professional expertise needed for exchange team members. Phase II, an exchange, a team of 5 professionals, with the backgrounds requested by the stakeholders, participate in a one-week exchange in the watershed. The local committee creates an agenda for the team that illustrates the issues affecting the watershed and arrange for roundtable meetings and field trips with key stakeholders. Local committee members work closely with the exchange team to use the data collected in Phase I to develop potential management alternatives for protecting the watershed. The exchange team's visit culminates in a presentation and a set of recommendations for Phase III. Phase III, an implementation plan, funds and implements highest priority conservation strategies in the watershed. After review and finalization of team findings, recommendations are prioritized and action steps developed for implementing exchange team recommendations. TPL and other identified partners continue to work with the community in support of local efforts to finance and implement land conservation and strategies for watershed protection.




GIS, greenprinting, model, Trust for Public Lan