6
Organizing for Watershed Management

Given the great variety of sizes and types of watersheds and the economic and political landscapes, what is the best organizational structure for implementing successful watershed management? Organizational structure can be either a barrier or an avenue to success. In the United States, regionally defined water management organizations have traditionally fared poorly (Newson, 1992), and agencies with missions focused on specific functions have dominated the scene. From time to time, commentators have speculated about shaping watershed management organizations and activities to more closely approximate watershed boundaries. Yet it is not necessarily clear that such watershed-defined organizations would be any more successful than present institutional arrangements. This chapter explores the structure and responsibilities of institutions and organizations seeking insight about organizational approaches to help integrate ecologic, economic, and social aspects of watershed management.

The current structure of federal involvement in water management traces its origins to the early 1800s, when the federal government became involved in navigation projects (Kenney and Rieke, 1997). During the depression years of the 1930s, the federal government greatly expanded water resource development, with a strong emphasis on using water projects to stimulate economic development. With a few notable exceptions such as the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), these federal investments were on a project-by-project basis, rather than on a watershed basis. Virtually all of the projects were constructed with major federal subsidies, including very low cost irrigation water in the West, subsidized flood control projects, provision of low-cost hydropower, and subsidized recre-



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--> 6 Organizing for Watershed Management Given the great variety of sizes and types of watersheds and the economic and political landscapes, what is the best organizational structure for implementing successful watershed management? Organizational structure can be either a barrier or an avenue to success. In the United States, regionally defined water management organizations have traditionally fared poorly (Newson, 1992), and agencies with missions focused on specific functions have dominated the scene. From time to time, commentators have speculated about shaping watershed management organizations and activities to more closely approximate watershed boundaries. Yet it is not necessarily clear that such watershed-defined organizations would be any more successful than present institutional arrangements. This chapter explores the structure and responsibilities of institutions and organizations seeking insight about organizational approaches to help integrate ecologic, economic, and social aspects of watershed management. The current structure of federal involvement in water management traces its origins to the early 1800s, when the federal government became involved in navigation projects (Kenney and Rieke, 1997). During the depression years of the 1930s, the federal government greatly expanded water resource development, with a strong emphasis on using water projects to stimulate economic development. With a few notable exceptions such as the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), these federal investments were on a project-by-project basis, rather than on a watershed basis. Virtually all of the projects were constructed with major federal subsidies, including very low cost irrigation water in the West, subsidized flood control projects, provision of low-cost hydropower, and subsidized recre-

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--> ation facilities. The most significant revenue generation is from sale of hydropower. Today we are in a much different economic situation and have different priorities for our water resources. Now, virtually all of the desirable dam sites have been developed, and flood control and navigation works exist on river systems throughout the country. These projects have brought major benefits to the citizens of the United States, but our past approaches to managing water resources also have imposed significant costs. They have at times encouraged inefficient practices such as wasteful use of water and energy and caused problems such as overdevelopment in floodplains; degraded water quality from return flows from urban, industrial, agricultural, and mining activities; and radically altered stream-flow hydrology due to hydropower generation. Current efforts to reexamine the structure and funding of the water agencies in light of the needs of the twenty-first century are appropriate. Organizational fragmentation is often a major obstacle to effective watershed management. To begin with, divisions among levels of government—local, state, federal—may generate genuine disputes over the proper locus of taxing, spending, or regulatory authority. In addition, each governmental level may have different agencies pursuing apparent cross purposes. One state agency may advocate a new dam while another might oppose it; one local agency might advocate locating a new sewer outfall at a certain place while another may oppose it. Such apparent contradictions among agencies are inevitable in a governmental structure that, by design, represents varied stakeholder groups. However, in general the various levels of government are in pursuit of common goals. Certainly, those empowered to act may have some jealousies about their authorities, but these conflicts are far less significant than the conflicts that arise over how the land and water of a watershed might be used. For example, a fisheries management organization will view (correctly) a decision by a water and sewer authority to locate a sewer outfall near an oyster ground as having a negative effect on their goals of promoting oyster production and harvester's income. Governments must choose between legitimate but competing public purposes. Thus, general governments decide between the water and sewer authority's preference for locating a sewer outfall near an oyster ground, and the preferences of the fisheries organization. Within this structure, decisions allocating watershed resources among competing uses are made through a bargaining process among the same levels of government as well as vertical organizations. Policy for any action results from the formal and informal ways organizations and their leaders seek to influence each other—by technical studies (economic assessments, environmental impact statements, water quality measurements, etc.), identification of policy constraints, exchanges of support, and exchanges of both threats and promises. Throughout the nation's history, new agencies and new complexes of organizations have been created to make decisions about land and water use, and exist-

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--> ing ones have been changed and reorganized to meet newly perceived needs. The present move toward watershed-based management is occurring in one such period of reassessment. The hope is that such changes would lead to coordination in spending and regulatory authority. In the following pages we assess the present organizational landscape in the United States, evaluate the various strategies for creating new American watershed management organizations, review the experiences of other nations, and offer a prescription to guide future organizational change in the United States. The American Organizational Landscape Any effort to coordinate programs in support of effective watershed management must contend with the reality that formal authorities for regulating, taxing, and spending for land and water use are diffused throughout the levels of government, and the patterns of organizational responsibility vary greatly. At the local level, primary responsibility for water often resides in a department of public works, which typically operates the drinking water system, sewer system, and wastewater treatment plant. Sometimes them is a separate department of water. These departments operate as enterprise accounts, where the fees collected must equal the costs of running the service. Many drinking water systems are privately owned, but few wastewater treatment plants or sewer systems are private. State agencies such as utility commissions usually set the rates for privately owned utilities, while elected officials usually establish rates for publicly managed services. Rates structures can encourage (or discourage) water conservation. Local public works agencies must often apply to state agencies for discharge permits and for certification of the drinking water system. Communities often become involved in issues of stormwater runoff, especially now that such runoff must be permitted and meet acceptable standards. Local governments are also involved in erosion and sediment control ordinances; street cleaning that removes oils, organic, soil, and bacteria from streets; and education to encourage residents to avoid overuse of fertilizers and pesticides. Local land use regulations governing floodplains and storage of hazardous and toxic materials also influence water quality. In rural counties, local government may set controls on livestock waste and use of pesticides and fertilizers, which are important for preventing surface and ground-water contamination. Most rural counties rely on septic systems for wastewater disposal and wells for drinking water, and both are usually regulated at the state or county level. Ultimately, each state has its own organizational structure for dealing with watershed-related issues. In many states, a natural resource or environmental protection agency is responsible for water supply and quality, another agency handles recreation, a wildlife agency is responsible for aquatic life, and an economic development agency may regulate dam construction and navigation. Some states have coastal zone management plans to deal with land use in coastal river

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--> watersheds and estuaries. Other states have special wetlands boards to oversee wetland protection. Many states also have regional planning districts that address problems that go beyond one local jurisdiction's boundaries. Water is often one of their concerns, as well as air pollution. The diversity of approaches to watershed-related issues is described in some detail in Guide to State Environmental Programs (Jessup, 1990), which notes: In 12 states, EPA has jurisdiction for administering the NPDES permits; the rest of the states administer their own permits. Twenty-six states have the same state agency handling point and nonpoint sources of pollution. Some of the remaining states rely on EPA to oversee point sources and a state agency covers nonpoint sources, while some states have separate state agencies for the two pollution sources. Most states have the same agency deal with ground water and surface quality issues; in Washington State, local governments handle ground-water protection. In the case of wetlands, 18 states have the Army Corps of Engineers handle permitting; 4 states have local governments work with the Corps and the rest have some mixture of state and Corps of Engineers programs. Coastal states use four different approaches to coastal zone management: two (California and South Carolina) have independent Coastal Commissions; eight use coastal agencies, nine have the coastal programs in their general environmental agencies, six handle coastal issues through their natural resources agencies, and three (Maine, New Jersey, and Washington) leave coastal issues to the local governments. Water allocation is handled by a separate department or agency in 29 states, while 17 states give responsibility for water allocation to their general environmental agency, Eight states give water allocation to their Departments of Natural Resources, while others give this to state engineers or a similar position. Illinois gives water allocation authority to its Department of Transportation, Florida to Water Management Districts, and Arkansas to its Soil and Water Conservation Districts. The federal level offers similar organizational diversity1. Table 6.1 is a matrix of federal agencies and their associated watershed-related responsibilities. These agencies share responsibilities for numerous important functions. The division of responsibility is sometimes based on geographical boundaries. The Bureau of Reclamation's activities, for example, are restricted to the western 1   The committee would like to acknowledge Katherine O'Connor, Orange County Water District, California, for her significant contributions to this section. which is based on her masters thesis, "Watershed Management Planning: Bringing the Pieces Together" (O'Connor. 1995).

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--> TABLE 6.1 Major Water-related Responsibilities of Federal Agencies SOURCE: Adapted from O'Connor, 1995. Circle indicates some related responsibilities; filled circle indicates significant responsibilities.

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--> United States. In other cases, agency responsibilities are divided according to jurisdictional divisions, as explained below. Department of Agriculture The Department of Agriculture has several divisions that address watershed issues. Farm Services Agency The Farm Services Agency (FSA) (formerly the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service [ASCS]) administers various land-use programs to protect, expand, and conserve farmland, wetlands, and forests. The FSA is mandated to administer programs to control erosion and sedimentation, and to encourage voluntary compliance with state and federal regulations to control point and nonpoint-source pollution, as well as other programs that improve water quality (EPA, 1993). Under the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act [16 U.S.C. 590] the FSA administers programs to control erosion and sedimentation related to agricultural practices, develops programs to solve nonpoint and point source pollution, and conducts various other water quality improvement programs. The Soil and Water Resources Conservation Act [16 U.S.C. 2001] established Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) under the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture to promote federal, state, and local cooperative efforts to conserve water during times of drought, conserve surface water, preserve and improve the nation's wetlands, and increase migratory waterfowl habitat. Forest Service The Forest Service (USFS) manages the National Forests and Grasslands and regulates the use of forest resources on those lands, including the activities of commercial forestry and recreation. The original authority for the USFS was derived from the Organic Administrative Act of 1897, which created the National Forest Service System. The National Forest System originally had the dual purposes of preserving favorable conditions of water flows and ensuring continuous timber supply [16 U.S.C. 473-482]. The USFS participates in general forest protection and balances timber harvest with watershed protection for water quality and fish. The Multiple Use and Sustained Yield Act of 1960 [16 U.S.C. 528] requires the USFS to "manage watershed and fish resources as equally valuable resources with recreation, range (livestock grazing) and wildlife" [16 U.S.C. 528]. The multiple-use and sustained-yield objectives integrate consideration of physical, biological, economic, and scientific issues in resource management, and consider the resource needs of future generations (Doppelt et al., 1993). Under the National Forest Management Act of 1964 [16 U.S.C. 1600], the

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--> USFS undertakes forest management and "regulates timber harvest when watershed conditions will be irreversibly damaged or where water conditions of fish habitat will be seriously or adversely affect" (Doppelt et al., 1993). The Act requires that the USFS establish guidelines for riparian areas, soil, and water. The fish and wildlife habitats are to be managed to maintain well-distributed, viable populations throughout the forest system. Along with other federal agencies, the USFS nominates and manages river sections that are within national forest boundaries, and that have outstanding natural, cultural, or recreation features in a free flowing condition for designation under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act [16 U.S.C. 1271]. The USFS also manages the majority of the nation's wilderness areas under provisions of the Wilderness Act of 1964 [78 Stat. 890, 16 U.S.C. 1131-36] National Resource Conservation Service The National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), formerly the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), participates in cooperative resource management programs to develop and conserve soil and water resources. The NRCS offers technical assistance on agricultural pollution control and environmental improvement projects. Nearly three-fourths of the technical assistance provided by the agency goes to help farmers and ranchers develop conservation systems uniquely suited to their individual properties and ways of doing business. NRCS has helped producers develop and implement 1.7 million conservation plans on 143 million acres of highly erodible cropland (Rosenbaum, 1991). It provides assistance to farmers and ranchers to improve water quality and teaches them how to conserve water by irrigating more efficiently. The NRCS and FSA work together under the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act of 1936 to encourage and improve state and local programs for resource conservation and development. The NRCS assists in planning soil and water conservation programs; provides leadership in conservation and development of soil, water and related resources programs; and provides water supply forecasts, data on climate, and soil surveys. Under the Soil and Water Conservation Act of 1977, NRCS also provides technical assistance to the Conservation Districts regarding soil, water, air, plants, and animals for watershed protection, flood prevention, fish and wildlife management, community development and other purposes. This program was designed so that the USDA could cooperate with state agencies, Resource Conservation and Development councils, local units of government, land owners, and land users. The nation's 3000 conservation districts (virtually one in every county) are the heart of the conservation delivery systems. They link the NRCS with local communities and local priorities for soil and water conservation. The Act recognized the importance of a coordinated appraisal and program framework, "since individual and governmental decisions

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--> Technical specialists from USDA's National Resource Conservation Service work in the field with landowners to help them develop and implement sound conservation plans. Credit: USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service. concerning soil and water resources often transcend administrative boundaries and affect other programs and decisions. . ." [16 U.S.C. 2110, Section 2(3)]. NRCS administers a national watershed program that is integral to the USDA's National Conservation Program. Through this program, NRCS helps states, local units of government, tribes, and other sponsoring organizations address water-related and other natural resource issues, conduct studies, develop watershed plans, and implement resource management systems. The program includes projects carded out under the Watershed Protection and Hood Prevention Act of 1954 [PL 83-566] and the 11 watersheds authorized under the Flood Control Act of 1944 [PL 78-534]. Over 2000 plans covering 160 million acres in watersheds in every State, Puerto Rico, and the Pacific Basin have been completed or are under way. Authorized purposes for these NCR's-assisted watershed projects are watershed protection, flood prevention, agricultural water management, water based recreation, fish and wildlife habitat improvement, ground water recharge, water quality management, and municipal and industrial water supply. Program objectives have changed over time in response to legislative direction, environmental concerns, and changing social values. The objectives of many of the original projects were to reduce flooding, improve drainage, and increase

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--> irrigation efficiencies. In the 1960s, high priorities were placed on projects that provided jobs to combat poverty and encourage rural development; many of these projects involved establishing recreation areas. In recent years, projects have focused on land treatment measures to solve natural resource problems, such as substandard water quality and loss of wildlife habitat. To meet new challenges, the watershed program is being expanded and strengthened to support the agency's new emphasis on locally led conservation. Locally led conservation is an extension of the agency's traditional assistance to individual farmers and ranchers for planning and installing conservation practices for soil erosion control, water management, and other purposes and is an effort to better tailor NCR's assistance to meet the needs of individuals and communities. Department of Commerce The U.S. Department of Commerce has two divisions that play substantial roles in watershed-related issues. National Marine Fisheries Service The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is responsible for marine habitat management and the protection and restoration of marine water quality. The agency reviews water quality criteria as they affect threatened and endangered species in the marine environment. The NMFS also works with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to implement the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act of 1934 [PL 89-72] and the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act states that "wildlife conservation shall receive equal consideration and be coordinated with other features of water resource development programs" [16 U.S.C. 661]. The NMFS is required to work with the USFWS to provide assistance and cooperation among federal, state, and public and private agencies managing fish and wildlife. The agencies are mandated to make surveys, investigate lands and waters, and accept donations of lands and funds to further the purpose of the management of wildlife resources. Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the two agencies make the final decision on whether or not to list a species as threatened or endangered. The NMFS is responsible for listings of marine species, including anadromous salmonids such as salmon, sea run trout, and steelhead (Doppelt et al., 1993). Section 2(b)(1) and (2) of the ESA requires that all federal departments and agencies use their authority to further the purpose of the act and "shall cooperate with state and local agencies to resolve water resources issues in concert with conservation of endangered species."

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--> National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is responsible for describing, monitoring, and predicting conditions in the atmosphere, ocean, sun, and space environment. The agency is also responsible for managing and conserving living marine resources and their habitats, including certain endangered species and marine mammals. Under the authority of the Coastal Zone Management Act [PL 92-482], NOAA assists 29 coastal states in promoting effective management of coastal zones by balancing competing demands on resources, protecting the public health and safety, public access, and economic development. The reauthorization of the Coastal Zone Management Act in 1990 required states to develop, with the aid of NOAA, coastal nonpoint-source pollution control programs to restore and protect coastal waters of the nation. Managing coastal watersheds has become a major focus since the reauthorization of the Act. NOAA administers this Act by encouraging states to exercise full authority over the lands and waters in the coastal zone and contributing funds for projects (1992 funding was $40 million). The agency also assists states in cooperation with other federal and local government agencies and other vitally affected interests to develop land and water use programs for coastal zones. Section 302 (k) states that ''land uses in the coastal zone and the uses of adjacent lands which drain into the coastal zone, may significantly affect the quality of coastal waters and habitat." This statement emphasizes the importance of controlling land use activities in order to control coastal water pollution. The Marine Protection Research Sanctuaries Act [PL 92-532] recognizes the long-term consequences of human activities in the coastal zone, as well as the importance of assessing the ecological, economic, and social impacts of humans on the physical and biotic environment. Under this Act, NOAA assists agencies in developing management alternatives that minimize human impacts on coastal and marine resources (EPA, 1993). NOAA is also responsible for administering the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. Under this program, NOAA establishes and manages a national system of reserves representing different coastal regions and estuarine types that exist in the United States. These reserves not only preserve important ecological areas, but act as field laboratories for study of natural and human processes (EPA, 1993). Department of Defense The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), under the Department of Defense, has wide ranging authority regarding water resources. The Corps' activities include: regulating of all construction permits in navigable waters; transporting and dumping dredged materials; developing, planning, and building dams and other structures to protect areas from floods; providing a supply of water for

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--> municipal and industrial use; creating recreational areas; improving water and wildlife quality; and protecting the shorelines of oceans and lakes. The Corps is best known for its flood control facilities and major public works projects. It is authorized to construct and operate multipurpose dams and reservoirs for flood control and navigation. It also has authority over projects to protect public health, safety, and welfare; water quality; conservation; aesthetics; environment; historic values; and fish and wildlife values. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also helps communities with issues related to development and management strategies for flood control, coastal and shoreline erosion, outdoor recreation, environmental restoration, and water quality control (EPA, 1993). The Corps has become involved in major environmental restoration projects such as the Everglades Restoration Project in Florida and the Upper Mississippi Environmental Management Program (Eisel and Aiken, 1997). Under the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1988, a permit is required from the Chief of Engineers for any activity that would cause physical alterations such as channelization in the nations' waterways (Portney, 1990). Later amendments to this law gave the Corps authority to control beach and shore erosion along public shores. Many such projects were designed and constructed by the USACE to assure that water pollution would not affect the public. The Corps' projects also involved some programs to provide recreational benefits and land enhancement. Most of the various flood control acts adopted over the years provided for technical information and planning assistance by the USACE to local communities and involved cost sharing with local sponsors. The acts promote the development of projects that address flood hazards in land and water use planning for streams, lakes, and oceans [33 U.S.C. 701-709]. Ironically, section 1135 of the Flood Control Act of 1986 authorizes restoration in a watershed if a Corps project has directly contributed to a watershed problem, such as an area near a dam constructed by the Corps (EPA, 1993). The Corps is the permitting agency for Clean Water Act section 404 permits for dredging or filling of wetlands. While the EPA has veto authority over the permits, the Corps does the day-to-day work in protection of wetlands. The Corps" manual also defines wetlands and how to delineate them (USACE, 1987). Department of Energy Federal law gives authority to license all nonfederal hydroelectric projects that use federal lands or affect navigable waterways to the Department of Energy's Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Given its role in licensing hydropower facilities, FERC can have substantial impact on watersheds. Under the provisions of the Federal Power Act, FERC seeks to regulate the safe and efficient operation of hydropower facilities while also balancing other needs such as protection of fish habitat and provision of recreational opportunities (Rosenbaum, 1991). FERC can, for instance, require dam operators to meet

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--> among its states to agree on me amount of water each can receive, it has proven to be inflexible in meeting needs not envisioned in 1922, such as demands from Mexico and population growth in Arizona and Nevada. Incentives from the federal government, such as dams, have helped the negotiations along, and judges have helped keep states from taking more than their share, so the compact has remained in force. But the use of the water probably is not optimal. An International Perspective Organizing government agencies to integrate environmental, social, and economic perspectives on watershed management is not a new idea. Although we can find examples of watershed management activities in many nations (e.g., Costa Rica), the focus here is on nations whose general legal and policy frameworks resemble those of the United States because of a shared heritage of British common law. Among such nations, the United States alone adheres to the dominance of agencies like the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Bureau of Reclamation, each pursuing its own mission defined by topic. The experiences of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Great Britain provide examples of water-resource management with organizational structures dominated by watershed organizations. In Canada, provincial governments traditionally have organized their water and environment planning activities according to watersheds (Newson, 1992). In Ontario, for example, 38 "conservation authorities" promote integrated planning for development. The authorities are organized by local interests, often municipalities, and usually consider issues such as flood control, recreation management, water supply, and water quality together rather than separately. However, it has proven challenging to coordinate actions between these local conservation authorities and the larger-scale activities of the federal government, and to deal with the complexities of interbasin water transfers. A review of Canadian water policy outlined five strategies for improving the situation; these strategies emphasize water pricing, science leadership, integrated planning, larger scale legislation to span jurisdictions, and improved public participation (Pearse et al., 1985). Australia's experience with watershed management is similar to that of Canada in that both countries have states (Australia) and provinces (Canada) that are large with respect to most of the nation's river basins, and both nations tend to emphasize water and watershed management at the state or provincial level rather than the federal level. Two legislative changes in the state of South Australia are of interest: the Catchment Water Management Act of 1995 and the Water Resources Act of 1997. The 1995 legislation is one in a series of laws that specify the management capabilities of local agencies called "catchment water management boards" (State of South Australia, 1995). These boards have responsibility for significant aspects of planning and implementing efforts to manage water, controlling flooding, dealing with recreation issues, and preserving and improv-

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--> ing environmental quality. The boards, staffed by state governor appointees, are supposed to serve as management connections between watersheds and river channels, and they are empowered to purchase land in pursuit of their objectives. Two such boards manage portions of the Adelaide area of South Australia: the Patawalonga and the Torrens Catchment Water Management Boards, each responsible for watersheds about of about 100 sq. mi. (250 sq. km.) The boards have produced comprehensive plans that account for water supply and quality as well as a full range of water resource uses (see Box 6.2). The management plans emphasize the integration of ecological, environmental, and economic considerations on a geographic basis (BC Tonkin & Associates, 1996; Torrens Catchment Water Management Board, 1997). In Australia, larger projects such as the restoration of the River Murray require management by state officials (State of South Australia, 1995). Recent legislation in Australia has defined the role of the catchment boards as being resource management, while state and federal agencies have responsibility for standard setting and regulatory enforcement (Dyson, 1997). New Zealand's use of watersheds as administrative units is instructive because of its exceptionally long record. Beginning in 1868, New Zealand established River Boards to deal with flooding and erosion problems, and by the late 1980s the nation had 20 Regional Water Boards. Each board administered about 5,200 sq. mi. (13,500 sq. km.) (Quinn and Hickey, 1987). The board's objectives included meeting water quality criteria defined at the national level by the 1967 Water and Soil Conservation Act. The regional boards were made up of local interests in pursuit of national standards, but each board also took into account issues specific to individual watersheds. For example, some boards were most concerned with water pollution from upland applications of fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides (McColl and Gibson, 1979), while others were more concerned with land rights of the native population, the Maori. The nation has 82 hydroelectric dams, but their distribution is unequal so water board interest in them varies accordingly. The boards were organized by region rather than by legal function (Ministry of the Environment, 1989). In 1989, local governments in New Zealand reorganized and consolidated to create 16 new regions defined by watershed boundaries (Dixon and Wrathall, 1990). These watershed boundaries were useful because many of them had served as River Board boundaries, so that administrators and citizens understood and accepted them as definable regions. Combining the local governments into watershed groupings supported the general belief "that decisions relating to resource allocation and use should be taken by communities most affected by those decisions, taking explicit consideration of their own specific geographies" (Furuseth and Cocklin, 1995). Technical specialists in the physical science and engineering professions moved directly into the new organizations from the old River Boards. The regional councils have sole responsibility over soil conservation, water and air quality, waste disposal, and geothermal resources. They share responsibilities

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--> Box 6.2 The Patawalonga Catchment and the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia  The Patawalonga Catchment and the River Murray in southern Australia illustrate the successful matching of scales between a physical watershed resource and its responsible administrative unit. The Patawalonga Catchment is a watershed that includes a main drainage basin plus a small associated basin that drains directly to the sea. More than 50 percent of the catchment is urbanized as part of Adelaide metropolitan area, so that stormwater drains augment its naturally defined stream system. The catchment also includes some agricultural areas in its headwaters area. Significant management problems in the catchment include water quality unsuitable for swimming, boating, or fishing; watercourses with eroded banks; stormwater that is piped directly to the sea rather than being used for other purposes; and urbanization that has increased downstream flooding on many tributaries (BC Tonkin and Associates, 1996). The Catchment Water Management Act of 1995 provided the legal framework for the Patawalonga Catchment Management Board, which consists of nine members, four appointed by local government, four appointed by the state government, and a chairperson jointly appointed by local and state governments. Financial support for the board's activities comes from a catchment levy raised by local government based on property values, as well as borrowing authority for some capital works. The board has established and begun implementing a management plan that calls for preventing polluting discharges, constructing physical works to improve water quality, and establishing wetlands; replacing concrete channel linings with more natural beds and banks, and adding paths to create linear parks; detaining stormwater for aquifer recharge; mapping flood-risk zones; and acquiring flood-prone land for inclusion into linear parks. with the central government for coastal resources and with local governments for natural hazards, noise, and cultural heritage. The passage of the 1991 Resource Management Act (RMA) brought further changes to watershed management issues in New Zealand. The Act supersedes previous legislation (except for minerals and fisheries), and governs the manage-

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--> These local scale activities contrast with simultaneous efforts at a regional scale for the basin of the River Murray and its principal tributary the Darling, a stream system draining 408,800 sq. mi. (about 1 million sq. km.) in the Australian interior near Adelaide. In this large basin, the management issues differ from those at the local scale for Patawalonga. The major problems are increasing salinity of the river's water, reduced economic vitality because of soil erosion and dryland salinity, lack of integrated management of flow regulation structures, lack of a regional perspective on stormwater runoff and urban effluent, loss of native bird populations, and declining health of riparian vegetation. These problems are so large scale, and the basin covers such a large geographic area (including parts of four states), that no single governmental entity can deal with them. The Murray-Darling Basin Initiative was created to bring together the state governments and the Commonwealth (federal) government in an organizational structure whose scale matches the basin scale. Established in 1985, the initiative began by maintaining the basin's physical water management structure, but the organization's new Murray-Darling 2001 project is designed to integrate ecological, economic, and social approaches to addressing the needs of the basin's natural and cultural resources (Brown, 1995). The primary proposed method of funding this broad effort is contributions from the participating state governments totaling about $150 million, with a matching contribution from the Commonwealth. These Australian examples show that watershed problems are essentially regional in nature, and they can be best approached using organizations that are regionally defined. Small regions such as the Patawalonga Catchment require organizations of local governments and citizens, while large regions require consortia of larger governmental entities. Watershed problems are scale specific, with some, like the problem of linear parks along restored waterways best addressed locally and others, like basinwide salinity problems, best attacked by large-scale approaches. In each case, however, it is easiest to integrate the ecologic, economic, and social approaches by using regionally defined administrative units rather than units defined by restricted missions such as environmental quality, engineering, or reclamation. ment of natural resources and environments (Furuseth and Cocklin, 1995). Two principles govern the RMA: sustainable management is the overall objective, and the mechanism for decisionmaking is to move from the central government to the regional and local levels. The RMA requires each region to formulate policy and vision statements to establish the local methods for reaching the goal of sustain-

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--> able management. This policy process includes public participation and the involvement of the Maori. Territorial governments, in their land use plans and policies, as well as private resource owners and Commonwealth resource managers, must observe regional resource and environmental policies. The central government retains the responsibilities for setting national environmental standards, national policy, water conservation orders, heritage protection orders, and coastal policy. In their evaluation of the reform process for New Zealand resource management, Dixon and Wrathall (1997) noted that implementation has largely been in the hands of local and regional councils, with minimal central governmental support. They indicate that while devolution of authority to the regional and local level should occur to improve management and control by local representatives, "there is no doubt that practitioners and councils would have benefited by more guidance from the center." They found that the new system is more complex than the former one, with several tiers of plans, often of variable quality. The New Zealand example shows that organizing according to watershed boundaries is a workable method for ensuring local control over water and water-related resources. The experience also shows that the natural boundaries must blend with previously established administrative boundaries, sometimes through aggregation of small administrative units to constitute regions approximating the watersheds. The New Zealand example also shows that there can be a logical division of responsibilities among local, regional, "and national authorities. Great Britain also has reorganized its regional approach to water and watershed management. In recent decades the nation has managed these resources through River Authorities, agencies with management responsibility for individual drainage basins ranging in size up to several hundred square miles, with jurisdiction defined by watershed boundaries. Recently these River Authorities have been folded into the national Environment Agency, but the subdivisions within the Agency remain defined by watersheds. The boundaries of jurisdiction have been modified somewhat to coincide with local government boundaries that approximate as closely as possible the natural boundaries. These experiences in other nations show that management of water as a resource and as a subject of scientific inquiry can be accomplished with organizational structures that parallel the natural organization of watersheds. Often, the precise outlines of the natural watershed are not the most effective as an organizing principle, and the continuing adjustments made by New Zealand in its primary division, by Canada in its arrangements, and by Britain in its reorganization and continued adjustments of administrative boundaries show that concerns other than the physical environment must be taken into account. Political, social, cultural, or financial regions may be just as important as the physical region for definitional purposes. As an example, interbasin transfers of water or electrical power logically distort the drainage basin boundaries to fit the realities of the human use of the resource. In all the cases reviewed above, however, the use of

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--> geographically defined agencies has been critical to integrating ecological, economic, and social approaches. Yet for reasons of scale, complexity, governmental power, structures, and history, functionally defined agencies dominate the national organizational scene in the United States. Watershed Organizations For The Future New water and related land management organizations are developing across the nation. For example, according to McClurg (1997), several hundred watershed management programs are underway in California. In 1996, a new watershed initiative began to integrate water quality monitoring, assessment, planning, standard setting, permit writing, nonpoint source management, groundwater protection, and other staff work. Federal funding for some of these activities comes from modified administration of two EPA programs funded under sections 205(j) and 319(b) of the Clean Water Act. Organizational structures for hydrologic resources and hydrologic research for watersheds in the United States are most likely to be effective if they follow watershed boundaries. Organizational structures for other resources and for integrated approaches, however, must often be more flexible, with the boundaries of organizational responsibility being defined by the issue at hand. For the management of hydrologic resources, however, a nested hierarchy of hydrologic management organizations is preferable, with responsibilities for each organization dependent on the watershed scale of its responsibility (Table 6.3). This nested approach is required because the United States is large in terms of area (34 times larger than New Zealand, for example) and in terms of population (5 times more populous than Great Britain). This local to national continuum will help ensure the inclusion of all relevant stakeholders and provide an integrating framework. Failing to match the scale of decisionmaking to the scale of the watershed can lead to two problems. If the decisionmaking body has authority over an area that is smaller than the watershed at issue, its policies will probably fall to take into account the impact that local decisions can have downstream. Those who benefit from such narrow decisions may not bear their true economic or environmental costs. If, on the other hand, a decisionmaking body has authority over an area that is too large or is dominated by federal interests, it will likely fail to take into account local interests that in the end must bear many of the ramifications of the decisions. Matching the decisionmaking authority with the watershed in question according to scale and geographic area thus helps resolve the questions of who benefits and who pays for watershed resources, including goods and services, and makes it easier to reach compromises. We do not yet know how the nation's institutions need to change to achieve greater sustainability of natural resources (Cortner et al., 1996). In many cases, institutions that have served us well in the past have outlived their intended mis-

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--> TABLE 6.3 Common Scales for Watershed Management Issues Watershed Issues Small Watersheds, Less than 2,500 km2 1,000 mi2) Intermediate Systems, 2,500-25,00 km2 (1,000-10,000 mi2) Larger River Basins, Greater than 25,000 km2 (10,000 mi2) Establish overall regulatory thresholds     Reservoir system management     Management issue and needs analysis   Goal, objective, and policy development     Hydrologic modeling for water quality     Management, water quality, point source     Public education     Floodplain management       Management, water quality, nonpoint source       Participatory planning       Stream bank stabilization       Wetland management       Lake management       Surface water recreation management       Fisheries management       Rare and endangered species management       Land use planning and zoning       Construction site erosion control       Drainage ditch management       Greenbelt development and management       Irrigation management       Local flood-control works       Shoreline erosion control      

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--> sions and, in some cases, usefulness (Wilkinson, 1992). This is not to say these organizations and the laws they support were not sensible when they were created, during an era when resources were believed to be inexhaustible, but rather that societal values and needs have changed. The institutions responsible for managing our natural resources may well be the most significant barriers to the adoption of new, more integrated approaches to management (Kessler, 1992, 1994; Slocombe, 1993; and Grumbine, 1994). Research is needed to provide a better understanding of how people and institutions can be more effective. Stankey and Clark (1992), in studying the social aspects of implementing new approaches in forestry, identified six general areas for research that are appropriate here as well: integrating social values; understanding public values for resources; public acceptance of management approaches; public participation mechanisms; structure, procedures, and values of natural resource organizations; and forums for debating issues. In a companion study on institutional barriers and incentives for ecosystem management, Cortner et al., (1996) identified five problem areas where social science research might help improve our ability to implement new approaches to management: the extent to which existing laws policies, and programs may constrain or aid implementation; institutional mechanisms for managing across jurisdictions; internal organizational changes and new arrangements among resource agencies and the public; theoretical principles underlying natural resource management; and methodological approaches for researching institutional questions. Such research can help build our understanding of current social values and how these values can be integrated into management strategies. Conclusion Documentary histories, field visits, workshops, and the experiences of individual committee members lead us to several conclusions about organization for watershed management. While these conclusions apply in many cases, there are also many exceptions because of local or regional variation. Organize according to watershed boundaries for direct hydrologic management and related scientific research. The inherent nature of the hydrologic system is that it is organized according to nested watersheds, so organizations that deal primarily with the water resource should be organized in the same fashion. Integrative scientific research focusing on water and closely related resources should take advantage of the natural geographic characteristics of hydrologic systems.

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--> Organize decisionmaking boundaries to fit the issue at hand when dealing with engineered hydrologic systems where economic or social systems are involved. A slavish adherence to watershed boundaries can lead to missed opportunities and inefficient decisions when factors such as interbasin transfers of water and power create a hydrologic system that operates outside the natural watershed boundaries. No one arrangement fits all situations, and flexibility is important. With respect to scale in dealing with hydrologic issues, the organization scale should fit the scale of the natural system. The management of water and closely related resources of small watersheds should be handled by local organizations, while larger scale organizations should deal with aggregations or nested hierarchies of smaller units. Larger, more encompassing organizations can help resolve local differences. Some functions, such as land use planning and zoning, are best left to local levels of governmental organization, while other tasks such as setting regulatory standards are best left to the national level. No one size fits all situations. New organizational strategies must recognize the limitations of transfer of powers. The historical development of governmental organizations in the United States dictates a certain distribution of powers among levels and among agencies within the same level. Watershed management through newly defined organizations will not succeed unless there is a transfer of powers from these established agencies, often an unlikely scenario. Therefore, watershed management in the United States is often best accomplished through partnerships of existing agencies that work together in ad hoc arrangements for particular watersheds. Watershed organizations are most successful if they are self-organizing from the grass-roots level, rather than having an organizational structure imposed by national fiat. In the United States, regional variations in the natural environment, customs, politics, financial resources, and existing distribution of powers are so great that a national overlay of proposed watershed organizations is unlikely to be successful. The most effective watershed organizations seen by the committee are those that developed from local needs focused on particular problems. Successful organizations often solved one initial problem before expanding their interests to attack other issues. Individuals make a difference—they create organizations and drive their success. In field visits and workshops, the committee found that the most successful organizations were the product of the initial effort of one individual or of a small group of persons. These few individuals committed themselves to addressing a problem of local or regional extent and exerted enthusiasm and leadership to organize for a solution. We should not underestimate the power people have to identify problems and take action to solve them.

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