Polluted Runoff: Nonpoint Source Pollution

Watershed Capacity Building

Capacity building means establishing resources needed to fulfill a mission or achieve a goal. Watershed groups and local governments need technical tools for scientific support, engineering support, information technology, assistance with legal issues, project management, outreach and planning support. They also need legal authority for activities such as permitting, enforcement, contracting, fund raising and resource management. The most effective organizations are built upon a strong foundation of adequate resources, technical tools and legal authority. 

Capacity Resources 

  • Getting in Step: A Guide to Effective Outreach in Your Watershed :This guidebook provides some of the tools watershed groups need to develop and implement an effective watershed outreach plan. If you're a watershed practitioner trained in the sciences, this manual will help you address public perceptions, promote management activities, and inform or motivate stakeholders. Related resources for this book include a 35 minute companion video of case studies and an online Web training tutorial. 
  • Building Local Partnerships (PDF) : Exit This short document explains why partnerships are a key to effective watershed management. Through a partnership different people and organizations work together to address common interests and concerns. 
  • Environmental Education on the InternetExit The Environmental Education and Training Partnership of the North American Association for Environmental Education developed this Internet clearinghouse on topics related to environmental education. 
  • National Conservation Training Center : Exit The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Conservation Training Center trains and educates natural resource managers to conserve fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats. Government, nonprofit organizations, and corporations can come together in a nonthreatening, collaborative setting to learn new skills, share perspectives, break down barriers, establish networks, find common ground, and move toward field-based solutions built on consensus and mutual interest. Located approximately 75 miles from Washington, D.C., the NCTC campus provides full-service residential facilities, complemented by professional staff, cutting-edge programs and curricula, and the most advanced technology available.
  • National Environmental Training Center for Small CommunitiesExit NETCSC was established in 1991. Funded by the EPA, NETCSC seeks to improve small community health by helping environmental trainers improve drinking water, wastewater, and solid waste services in small communities (those with populations less than 10,000). These trainers help environmental professionals in small communities develop skills and knowledge so they can better plan, manage, and operate environmental infrastructure. 
  • Top Ten Watershed Lessons Learned : As with any change of this magnitude, there has been much trial and error when dealing with watershed issues, and important lessons have been learned that are worth sharing. Oftentimes, these lessons have been shared informally through networking at conferences, by phone, or over the Internet. Watershed Lessons Learned is EPA's attempt to identify the top lessons learned and present them in one place. 

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Program Management

  • EPA Resources for Nonprofit Organizations — This Web page lists EPA's resources on topics ranging from communities at work to getting informed to laws and regulations. It is an excellent starting point for any watershed organization.
  • National Center for Nonprofit Boards ExitThe National Center for Nonprofit Boards is dedicated to increasing the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations by strengthening their boards of directors. They offer publications and workshops. 
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