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Sharing the Power of Partnerships: Tools for Working with Local Stakeholders

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Stakeholder involvement in TMDL development is critical to ensure local participation during load allocations and implementation. TMDL staff are well trained in monitoring, analyzing data, and modeling, but often lack training in outreach, education, and facilitation- skills necessary to solicit stakeholder participation in the TMDL process.

TMDL practitioners can tap into the wealth of information available on watershed planning to assist them with the art of working with local stakeholders. Through this presentation, the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC), a national nonprofit conservation organization, will present several tools that can assist TMDL staff with public involvement, including the Know Your Watershed program and its Alliance Building initiative.

Know Your Watershed

The Know Your Watershed (KYW) program offers tools to assist in working with local partnerships. A series of watershed guides has been designed to help build voluntary partnerships and to develop and implement watershed management plans. TMDL practitioners will find the tools have direct application to the development of a TMDL and implementation plan. This presentation will introduce TMDL practitioners to the tools available through the KYW program and provide guidance on how best to use them.

Three KYW guides assist with group dynamics and facilitation skills:

Managing Conflict- Provides information on the issues that lead to conflict, how public and private conflicts differ, specific steps to managing conflict, and negotiating skills.

Building Local Partnerships- Provides a list of potential partners, the stages groups typically go through, key strategies to building successful partnerships, lessons learned and how to make decisions based on consensus.

Leading and Communicating- Outlines the role of leaders, traits of effective leaders, communication strategies and skills, and specific steps for effective meetings.

Developing a TMDL implementation plan requires following the same steps and considerations as preparing a watershed management plan. Two KYW guides deal with these issues:

Getting to Know Your Local Watershed- Walks through the features, uses and social trends that should be considered when working in a watershed, provides a checklist for the planning process, and gives tips for successful watershed management.

Putting Together A Watershed Management Plan- Reviews the stages involved in putting together a plan including challenges and objectives, developing the plan and implementing and evaluating.

There are also several KYW guides addressing specific water quality concerns in a watershed, including Reflecting on Lakes, Wetlands, and Groundwater and Surface Water Interactions. The Know Your Watershed program also coordinates the National Watershed Network. The Network can help TMDL staff identify active partnerships in the watershed, or groups in other areas that have faced similar issues. The Network provides contact information, land use and ownership percentages, waterbody types and uses, stressors/pollutants, and stakeholder information for each registered group.

Alliance Building

The process of forming a local Alliance and developing a business plan is another tool that this presentation will introduce to TMDL practitioners, which can be utilized to involve local stakeholders in the TMDL process. The CTIC has been helping local groups across the country form local Alliances. Core 4 Conservation Alliances are local public-private partnerships that help stakeholders implement a system of practices that lead to Better Soil, Cleaner Water, Greater Profits and a Brighter Future. Alliances are made up of local stakeholders who come together to deal with resource concerns in their community. Alliances can spread the workload among many partners, maximize resources from a variety of sources, increase political impact by speaking with one voice, improve funding opportunities, and link with the National Conservation Network. CTIC supports Alliances thorough Alliance grants, a list serve, a Core 4 Conservation website, recognition in Partners magazine and capacity building and technical workshops.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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