Water Protection Program

Watershed Based Planning

9 element graph Note icon. Note: Due to funding limitations, and a new more strategic approach to Watershed Based Planning, the general solicitation schedule for Watershed Planning has been discontinued. The department may directly solicit or contract watershed based plans or updates as needed in priority areas. Contact Greg Anderson at 573-751-7428 for funding availability.

Program Background

Since the late 1980's, organizations and agencies have moved toward managing water quality by using a watershed approach, which includes stakeholder involvement and management actions supported by sound science and appropriate technology.

A watershed management plan, best defined by the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, is a strategy and a work plan for achieving water resource goals that provides assessment and management information for a geographically defined watershed. It includes the analysis, actions, participants, and resources related to development and implementation of the plan. The watershed planning process uses a series of cooperative, iterative steps to characterize existing conditions, identify and prioritize problems, define management objectives and develop and implement protection or remediation strategies as necessary.

Below is a list of the key elements to be discussed in a watershed management plan:

Causes and Sources of Pollution - What are the watershed problems and threats?

Load Reductions - Based on the information provided in element a, you will estimate the pollutant source loads and determine the nonpoint source pollutant load reductions needed to meet the water quality standards. Doing so will help you identify and prioritize the various nonpoint source best management practices that are needed for elements c and d below.

Nonpoint Management Measures - What are you going to do about the problem and threats and where will you do it. (i.e.: Which management practices will be selected and located to achieve the target load reductions?)

Water Quality-based Goals - What are you going to achieve?

Technical and Financial Assistance - How are you going to pay for the implementation of the plan? Who are your partners, how have they committed to assist?

Information and Education - How will you garner local support for the plan and its implementation? An information/education component designed to enhance public understanding of the project and encourage their early and continued participation in selecting, designing, and implementing nonpoint source best management practices that will be implemented.

Schedule - A schedule for implementing the management practices identified in elements a through c. How long will it take to achieve your goals?

Milestones or Water Quality-based Goals - What stepwise successes are you going to achieve to show progress? Set interim measurable milestones to determine if practices are being implemented effectively and according to your schedule.

Performance Criteria - How will you know you are successful? Follows benchmarks and milestones, is progress being made toward attaining water quality standards?

Monitoring - How will you measure your success over time? Should be able to determine when load reductions have been achieved adequately to meet water quality standards or beneficial uses.

Nine Elements to Watershed Planning

Overall, watershed-based plans that are developed and implemented to manage and protect against nonpoint source pollution using Clean Water Act Section 319 funding must address EPA's nine critical planning elements. To help communities, watershed organizations and local, state, tribal and federal environmental agencies with the development and implementation of watershed management plans, EPA developed the Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Waters for additional information. A detailed explanation of the nine elements is available in section one of the handbook. Note that 2013 EPA guidance allows for alternatives to nine-element watershed based plans if adequate and approved by EPA.

Additional Resources

Section 319 Application Tools and Resources

319 Project Examples

EPA Guide for Developing Effective Watershed Plans

Major Subgrants | Watershed Planning | Minigrants | Project Examples