Development

Introduction

WRAPS DevelopmentThe goal of a Development Project is to create a community of watershed stakeholders and equip them to effectively lead the watershed though the process of developing a WRAPS.

The objectives of a Development Project are to:

  1. Provide information and education
  2. Identify stakeholders
  3. Determine stakeholders’ interest and willingness to participate in watershed restoration and protection development, assessment, planning and implementation
  4. Compile and organize known watershed information
  5. Begin identifying stakeholder concerns and issues
  6. Organize watershed leadership team
  7. Secure commitment to participate in watershed restoration and protection strategy
  8. Prepare a Development Project report

1) Providing Information & Education

Effective stakeholder education and involvement provides opportunities for identifying public concerns and values, developing consensus, and producing efficient, effective, and acceptable solutions through an open, inclusive process.

There are three general types of stakeholder involvement that are critical to the development of a WRAPS:

  • Public education
  • Public participation
  • Public relations

Public education is focused on building awareness and discussion/interaction among stakeholders about watershed issues and concerns, activities that are or have the potential to impact natural resources, and alternative strategies and tools that can be implemented to address these issues.

Public participation involves creating opportunities for meaningful input into the development of the WRAPS. Such opportunities can range from watershed tours to workshops and other public meetings. The purpose of these participation activities is to gather important information and feedback from stakeholders that will shape the WRAPS.

Public relations focuses on building support among residents and stakeholders for the need to develop a WRAPS and to implement the recommended actions to restore and protect water quality and other natural resources. Given that many of these actions will require substantial political support by local decision-makers and funding and technical assistance from local, state, and federal agencies, it is critical that broad public support be achieved for a WRAPS to be successful.

Ideally, an event or activity that includes watershed stakeholders should incorporate as many of these types of involvement as possible. There is often overlap between at least two of these. For example, a watershed tour, demonstration project, workshop, focus group, or other public event offers multiple opportunities to educate and inform the public, solicit their participation in providing guidance and feedback, and build popular support for the development and implementation of the WRAPS.

For stakeholder involvement to be effective, it must be incorporated into and implemented throughout the entire WRAPS process. A variety of well-established and tested tools and techniques can be utilized to achieve stakeholder involvement. Examples include watershed tours that provide stakeholders with an opportunity to learn more about water resources within the watershed, potential sources of pollution, and existing projects to restore and protect natural resources such as streambank stabilization, riparian buffers, and agricultural best management practices. Workshops that feature local speakers, educational displays and demonstrations, and small group discussions are another effective way to educate and involve watershed stakeholders in the WRAPS process. Other tools include press releases, websites, newsletters, public service announcements on radio and TV, and presentations to local elected officials and civic organizations.

2) Identifying Stakeholders

A successful effort to develop a WRAPS will involve the input of a variety of stakeholders. A “stakeholder” can be anyone that lives/works in the watershed that has an interest or “stake” in the outcome of the WRAPS process, especially those who may be called upon to help implement the recommended actions to restore and protect water quality, habitat, and other natural resources. Potential stakeholders include rural landowners/homeowners, agricultural producers, farmers, ranchers, urban residents, business/industry, civic organizations, local governments, Basin Advisory Committees, and others. State and federal agencies are also important stakeholders in local WRAPS efforts. They are charged with implementing water quality and natural resource programs on state, regional, and national levels and they also provide considerable technical and financial assistance to local watershed projects.

Not every stakeholder will have the time/ability to participate in the process of developing a WRAPS, but many people will have an interest and should be kept informed throughout the process and be provided with opportunities to review draft reports and provide feedback. Educational opportunities such as watershed tours and workshops are an effective way to involve and inform stakeholders.

It’s also helpful to identify project cooperators that will support a WRAPS process. A “cooperator” is any agency, organization, or individual that has demonstrated local leadership in community and/or environmental issues. Often, these are people or agencies that are influential and well-connected (“movers and shakers”) within their communities. Examples may include the local Chamber of Commerce, city and county commissioners, board members of the County Conservation District and agricultural associations (i.e. Farm Bureau), local civic organizations (Kiwanas, Rotary, etc.), Extension agents, and others. It is also advantageous to identify one or more local leaders who can serve as a spokesperson and can motivate others to participate.

3) Determining Stakeholders’ Interest

Absent an immediate or obvious threat or crisis, it is often challenging to determine stakeholder interest in water quality and other natural resource issues. Although everyone enjoys the benefits and uses that watersheds provide, it is not always clear to stakeholders how water quality and natural resources are being impacted, what activities have the potential to degrade them, and how everyone in the watershed contributes to problems and solutions.

One effective way of determining stakeholder interest in watershed issues is to focus on the uses of water and other natural resources that are highly valued by local residents. Such uses include drinking water, recreation, economic development (commercial and industrial use), tourism, wildlife habitat, and quality of life/cultural amenities such as a riverfront park or scenic stretch of river. Watershed stakeholders are much more likely to be concerned and involved with restoration and protection efforts when these types of uses are threatened or limited by degraded resources. Stakeholder interest and involvement is always greatest when the protection of natural resources can be directly linked to the economic livelihood and quality of life of communities and residents.

Stakeholder interest can be determined in many ways. Hosting a public meeting, watershed tour, or other event are some common methods. It is also extremely valuable to meet one-on-one, either formally or informally, with project cooperators and key stakeholders to determine their interest and willingness to participate/support the development of a WRAPS.

4) Compiling & Organizing Known Watershed Information

Information about watersheds is available from a variety of sources, including:

  • Watershed Condition Reports, TMDL reports, and water quality monitoring data from KDHE
  • Individual basin plans within the Kansas Water Plan published by the Water Office
  • Biological surveys and natural resource inventories developed by the Kansas Biological Survey or Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks
  • Research reports and other water quality monitoring data from the Kansas Geological Survey, Kansas State University, and US Geological Survey
  • Local land use plans, zoning maps, and other planning documents from local governments
  • Sourcewater assessments from local public water suppliers
  • County nonpoint source management plans from County Conservation Districts
  • Groundwater management plans from Groundwater Management Districts
  • Flood protection studies and other reports from Watershed Districts
  • Watershed maps that identify water and other natural resources, land cover/uses, political boundaries (cities, counties), major roads, etc., from state and federal agencies.

Important information about watersheds that may not be formally summarized is also available from stakeholders and project cooperators.

5) Begin Identifying Stakeholder Concerns & Issues

It is extremely valuable to meet one-on-one, either formally or informally, with project cooperators and key stakeholders to start identifying local concerns and issues in the watershed. Local stakeholders and cooperators typically have extensive knowledge about local conditions and activities that may be impacting water quality and other natural resources. These issues and concerns are unique to each watershed and should be addressed as part of the WRAPS.

6) Organizing a WRAPS Leadership Team

Once project cooperators and stakeholders have been identified and recruited, it is important to establish a local core planning group – a committee or team to guide the development of the WRAPS and ensure broad public participation. The structure, size, and composition of the WRAPS leadership team is best determined by watershed stakeholders. Such teams are typically comprised of volunteers and range in size from five to twelve members. Team membership typically includes a mix of watershed stakeholders, project cooperators, and agency staff. The purpose of a WRAPS leadership team is to provide oversight and guidance to staff charged with facilitating the WRAPS process and drafting the final plan. Additional tasks of the committee may include reviewing water quality monitoring data, watershed modeling scenarios, and other draft reports and providing feedback; identifying local sources of information and expertise; and assisting with public education and participation activities.

To facilitate the work of the Leadership Team, it is also helpful to identify and recruit a “local host entity” –an organization, office, or agency that provides administrative support and coordination for the development of a WRAPS. Such support may include serving as the official representative on grant applications, accounting and disbursing grant funds, serving as a central point of contact for the project, and providing clerical support such as mailings and workshop registrations, and facility space for meetings. Ideally, the local host will be an entity that has been involved with natural resource issues and enjoys the support of watershed stakeholders and project cooperators. The local host should be selected by stakeholders and report directly to the WRAPS committee. Examples of a host entity include Resource Conservation & Development Councils (RC&Ds), County Conservation Districts, county Extension offices, public water suppliers (i.e. rural water districts), and local governments.

7) Securing Stakeholder Commitment to Participate in a WRAPS Process

Securing stakeholder commitment to participate in a WRAPS process can be done in both formal and informal ways. One way is to approach the boards (or other decision making authority) of local agencies and organizations (such as a conservation district, municipality, watershed district, etc.) and ask that they pass a resolution (or publicly state in some other way) their commitment to supporting a WRAPS process. Other ways include asking organized stakeholder groups (such as Farm Bureau or a civic organization) to designate a formal representative to serve on the WRAPS Leadership Team, and/or to “sign on” as a cooperator by allowing the use of their name/logo on flyers and other publicity materials.

8) Preparing a Development Project Report

The outcome of a WRAPS Development Project is a report that:

  • Identifies how and what information and education activities were provided
  • Identifies who watershed stakeholders are
  • Outlines how stakeholder interest and willingness to participate was generated
  • Summarizes known watershed information
  • Describes local watershed issues and concerns
  • Identifies members of the Leadership Team
  • Identifies the level of commitment of stakeholders to participate in a WRAPS.

Resources

The following resources provide more comprehensive information and assistance in identifying, organizing, educating, and involving watershed stakeholders:


Community Culture and the Environment: A Guide to Understanding a Sense of Place
www.epa.gov/ecocommunity/pdf/ccecomplete.pdf

A companion to the printed guide and video, this online training module provides the tools to develop and implement an effective watershed outreach plan. Part I provides the overall framework for developing an outreach plan using a step-by-step approach. Part II provides tips and examples for developing and enhancing outreach materials. Part III gives specific tips on working with the news media to get your message out to target audiences. Throughout the module sidebars provide specific examples, key concepts, and recommended resources for obtaining more information. Worksheets are also provided for you to download and use for planning purposes.

Printed copies available from EPA’s National Service Center for Environmental Publications at 800-490-9198 or online at . (Request publication #EPA 842-B-01-003)


Getting in Step: Engaging and Involving Stakeholders in Your Watershed

An excellent guide that provides the tools needed to effectively identify, engage, and involve watershed stakeholders. Topics include: identifying driving forces; forming a stakeholder group; differentiating between positions and needs; keeping the process moving forward; dealing with conflict and hidden agendas; and making decisions using a consensus-based approach.

Available for downloading only at: www.epa.gov/owow/watershed/outreach/documents/stakeholderguide.pdf


Getting In Step: A Guide for Conducting Watershed Outreach Campaigns
www.epa.gov/owow/watershed/outreach/documents/getnstep.pdf

An excellent guide that provides an overall framework for developing and implementing a watershed outreach plan. Includes practical information on implementing a watershed outreach campaign to generate and maintain momentum, overcome barriers to success, address public perceptions, promote management activities, and inform & motivate stakeholders. Appendices provide worksheet templates to help you decide where to place your efforts and maximize the effectiveness of your outreach campaign.

Printed copies available from EPA’s National Service Center for Environmental Publications at 800-490-9198 or online at www.epa.gov/ncepihom. (Request publication # EPA 841-B-03-002)


Getting in Step: A Video Guide for Conducting Watershed Outreach Campaigns

A companion video that highlights four very different examples of watershed outreach campaigns from different parts of the country.

Copies available from EPA’s National Service Center for Environmental Publications at 800-490-9198 or online at . (Request publication # EPA 841-V-03-001)


Getting in Step: A Guide to Effective Outreach in Your Watershed
www.epa.gov/watertrain/gettinginstep

A companion to the printed guide and video, this online training module provides the tools to develop and implement an effective watershed outreach plan. Part I provides the overall framework for developing an outreach plan using a step-by-step approach. Part II provides tips and examples for developing and enhancing outreach materials. Part III gives specific tips on working with the news media to get your message out to target audiences. Throughout the module sidebars provide specific examples, key concepts, and recommended resources for obtaining more information. Worksheets are also provided for you to download and use for planning purposes.


Kansas Local Government Water Quality Planning & Management Guide
www.oznet.ksu.edu/library/agec2/Water_Qual/Guide/wqpguide.pdf
www.oznet.ksu.edu/library/agec2/Water_Qual/Manual/wqp_manl.pdf

Outlines a process and tools for developing a water quality protection plan. Topics include working with stakeholders.