Watersheds connect people, organizations and communities. Water is the unifying element in a watershed and helps to define our sense of place. Local citizens have a stake in the health of their watershed and are positioned to take a more holistic approach to its use and protection.
One of the biggest challenges: political boundaries and watersheds don’t often coincide. In many cases, federal leadership has been a part of reaching solutions between jurisdictions (for example, the Chesapeake Bay and the Colorado River Basin). The U.S. Water Alliance believes Federal leadership should appropriately recognize the inherent differences that exist in watersheds, respect the roles of local and state water managers, and consider the existing legal framework governing the watershed.
While some local areas are doing watershed planning well, there is a need to do a better job nationally, especially in getting all the stakeholders to the table. Promoting resource recovery, such as the capture of nutrients and safe, beneficial use of biosolids is also needed, along with integrated monitoring, permitting and enforcement on a watershed basis.