Community-Based Watershed Management: Lessons from the National Estuary Program
Community-Based Watershed Management: Lessons from the National Estuary Program (NEP) is designed for all individuals and organizations involved in watershed management, including states, tribes, local governments, and nongovernmental organizations. This document describes innovative approaches to watershed management implemented by the 28 National Estuary Programs (NEPs). The NEPS are community-based watershed management organizations that restore and protect coastal watersheds. Drawing on nearly 20 years of experience, readers will learn how the NEPs organize and maintain effective citizen involvement efforts, collect and analyze data, assess and prioritize problems, develop and implement management plans, and communicate results of program activities. While estuaries and their coastal watersheds are the focus of the NEPs, the estuary program experience can also be adapted to non-coastal watershed initiatives. Each chapter begins with the key management principles from the NEP experience. These broad principles are described and illustrated with examples from the 28 individual NEPs. The examples show how the NEPs address specific problems within identified priority problem areas, such as loss of habitat, polluted runoff, and invasive species. In many cases, actions address multiple problems simultaneously, such as land acquisition to reduce polluted runoff and increase habitat. The examples are found throughout the text and in sidebars, as well as at the end of each chapter. Six appendices provide additional information regarding the NEP watershed approach, including a brief summary of each NEP that includes their Web site address.