planning should be a critical component within the Corps’ planning portfolio.
its importance, the process has been misunderstood in the past as misguided
with no clear purpose or output. This misunderstanding around watershed studies
threatens the Corps’ capabilities and role in watershed planning. A
team working for the Corps’ Planning Community of Practice was recently tasked
with addressing these misunderstandings, identifying problems facing watershed
studies and providing solutions to address the problems.
problems facing watershed studies are not unique. There are funding
constraints, complicated and confusing processes, limited guidance and poor
communication of the value of watershed studies.
the research, the team worked to identify a framework that could address the
issues by proposing a new process specific to watershed studies, information
and resources to help teams and communication objectives to ensure the value of
watershed studies is known and documented.
much of the information developed by this team hasn’t been formalized as
guidance or distributed to the field, important progress has been made on how
watershed planning is another way for the Corps of Engineers to achieve
Integrated Water Resource Management.
the problems facing these studies has been challenging. Like most things we do
in the Corps, there are no easy solutions. After looking at lessons learned as
part of this team, it’s clear that planners will be key to the Corps’ future.
They will need to think big, develop creative ideas, programmatic solutions and
keep focused on the future.
forward, Corps planners will need to be a guiding path for the stakeholders in
the watersheds. The focus should not be on what the Corps can do but on what
progress can be made at the local levels, with the Corps participating where it
on the national team created many opportunities and built critical networks.
Although the task focused on watershed planning, the team determined that it
was important to also support: budget development, defining the watershed
planning portfolio, communication, coordination and support of other planning
activities. There were many great lessons learned along the way.