This guide is intended to steer watershed groups through the process of developing a watershed management plan with step-by-step instructions for each planning phase. It was revised in 2009 and is now an online interactive resource for watershed planning and implementation.
U.S. EPA handbook that provides guidance to states, territories, authorized tribes, local governments, watershed organizations and the public regarding technical tools and sources of information for developing watershed based plans to improve and protect water quality. For an overview, refer to Chapter 2 (Overview of Watershed Planning Process) [PDF].
Developed for local communities within the Chesapeake Bay area, this handbook has information to help you get started, along with real examples of a vision, goals, objectives, action register and indicators.
The William D. Ruckelshaus Institute at the University of Wyoming works to find different ways to bring stakeholders into conversations and to a decision when natural resources are in dispute. This Web site includes links to additional resources for facilitators and mediators.
This watershed group used a scoring and ranking system to identify critical areas based on water quality and land use information. The methodology is laid out in sections VI (Subwatershed Assessment) and VIII (Critical Areas and Prioritization) of the plan.
The Big Walnut Creek Watershed Alliance (Putnam, Hendricks, and Boone Counties) used a variety of criteria to develop Critical Areas (i.e. Priority Subwatersheds) in the larger watershed. See the narrative and tables from their watershed management plan for an idea of how to develop your watershed critical areas.
Many watershed groups cite wetland restoration as part of the strategy for remediating nonpoint source pollution in their watersheds. This tool provides a framework to prioritize wetlands for restoration, based upon the functions they will provide in the watershed. It includes a significant amount of GIS work.
The Big Walnut Creek Watershed Alliance (Putnam, Hendricks, Boone Counties) developed broad goals from public concerns and their watershed inventory, then refined them into specific water quality improvement goals for the watershed management plan (WMP). See narrative from their WMP of their watershed goal statements and the thought process they used to develop their watershed goals.
The Big Walnut Creek Watershed Alliance (Putnam, Hendricks, Boone Counties) developed strategies to address and implement the watershed management plan (WMP) goals and documented their approach in action registers. See narrative and tables from their WMP for an idea of how to develop your watershed plan action register.
STEPL consists of a series of Microsoft Excel worksheets that uses specific watershed characteristics from the user to calculate surface run-off and existing load estimates for nutrients, sediment, and five-day biochemical oxygen demand (BOD). Users can enter information on best management -practices (BMPs) to get load reduction estimates. Detailed instructions, FAQs, and tool downloads are available at this site.
L-THIA is an online interactive model designed to help community planners, developers and citizens quantify the impact of land use change on the quantity and quality of their water. This tool uses the land use and a soil characteristic from the user along with thirty years of precipitation data to determine the average impact that a particular land use change or set of changes will have on both the annual run-off and the average amount of several nonpoint source pollutants. For those unfamiliar with the hydrologic (water related) impacts of land use change, this tool along with the supporting documents will hopefully give the user enough information to start asking questions about land use changes in their area.
This Microsoft Excel-based model provides spreadsheets to calculate load reductions of sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus from selected agricultural and urban BMPs and bank stabilization. The model is based on the Universal Soil Loss Equation, and you will need to input the Rainfall-Run-off Erosivity Factor (R), Soil Erodibility Factor (K), Length-Slope Factor (LS), Cover Management Factor (C) and Support Practice Factor (P).
Web based Load Duration Curve provides an interactive process to develop duration curves, which identify loading capacities relative to a target concentration. The program is based on the LOADEST model. The program requires input data for daily mean streamflow (in cfs) and constituent parameter concentration (mg/L, ug/L). This program requires a minimum amount of data to work properly and technical assistance to set up. Once you set up the program, you will be able to get duration curves or load estimates in a few seconds. Contact your watershed specialist to discuss your data requirements, which program might meet your needs and for assistance in downloading and running this program.
These models will help you to determine how much soil erosion was saved by the practices that have been installed in your watershed. Periodically compare the outputs from the models to your sediment goals to update your progress. A tutorial on RUSLE2 is available from the USDA.
The Indiana E. coli Calculator (IEC) is a spreadsheet tool that estimates the Escherichia coli (E. coli) contribution from multiple sources and calculates load reductions of best management practice (BMP) installations. The portions of the spreadsheet that calculate E. coli contributions are heavily based upon the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Bacteria Indicator Tool (BIT). The BIT estimates the monthly accumulation rate of fecal coliform bacteria on four land uses (cropland, forest, built-up, and pastureland). The tool also estimates the direct input of fecal coliform bacteria to streams from grazing agricultural animals and failing septic systems. The IEC converts the fecal coliform values of the BIT to E. coli through a conversion equation based on Ohio water quality sampling results. There are two versions of the IEC: a condensed version and an expanded version. The condensed version uses default values to reduce user input and improve ease of use. It consolidates all user input to one sheet. The expanded version allows users to edit all input values used to calculate the E. coli loads. In both versions the load reduction calculations are the same, the condensed version just offers fewer settings to change.
Watershed management requires the participation of many businesses, organizations, landowners, and agencies. It can be overwhelming to think about all the stakeholders who should be made aware of your efforts. Use this table to brainstorm organizations and individuals who should be contacted and assign people to contact them.