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EDUCATION THROUGH ORGANIZATION: THE JOHNSON CREEK PROTECTION GROUP – A GRASSROOTS APPROACH TO WATERSHED MANAGEMENT

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The Johnson Creek Protection Group (JCPG) is a citizen stewardship organization based in Northville Township, Wayne County, Michigan, a community in the headwaters of the Rouge River watershed. This group is a venue in which residents, businesses and local officials work together to identify actions to be pursued to preserve and restore water quality, as well as educate the public regarding its role in this ongoing endeavor. The JCPG strives to involve as many communities and stakeholders as possible to preserve, protect, restore and enhance the water quality and habitat of Johnson Creek and its watershed.

In this paper, the evolution of the JCPG's organization is discussed as a case study for other communities considering a grassroots approach to watershed management. In developing an organization of this type, it is crucial to recognize key participants, engage as many stakeholders as possible, establish goals, determine the structure of the organization, identify funding sources, develop a variety of partnerships and acknowledge accomplishments. The importance of involving stakeholders, as well as the difficulties that may accompany their initial involvement, is addressed in this paper. The strengths resulting from this membership diversity are highlighted, as is the group's resulting multifaceted, collaborative approach to contemplating watershed concerns. The decision to establish the JCPG within a community government as opposed to registering it as a separate non-profit entity is addressed, as are the funding options that were identified for the organization. The group's successes and the benefits realized by the community in having a recognized, local watershed organization are also discussed. The process used to develop the JCPG and the group's experiences can be used as a model to establish similar groups in other watersheds.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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