Following a comprehensive, statewide study of North Carolina’s diverse watershed programs, the Institute for the Environment’s Environmental Resource Program (ERP), in partnership with the NC Watershed Stewardship Network, designed and conducted a series of workshops to build capacity in the state to implement watershed protection programs. Participants have included professionals and volunteers associated with watershed programs in local and state government agencies as well as private and nonprofit organizations.
This year’s workshop, the Tools of Watershed Management, is a free two-day session for volunteers and staff who work to protect and improve local watersheds. The workshop gives participants the tools they need to engage a broad cross-section of their communities in watershed management.
Grant Parkins, ERP’s watershed education coordinator and workshop lead, said the goal of the workshop is to increase the participants’ knowledge and skills while also creating opportunities for communication and networking across the state.
“By providing a wide range of relevant content and skills and introducing both watershed experts and regional resources, we hope the program fosters leadership that will result in greater protection of North Carolina’s watersheds,” Parkins said.
During the program, participants receive instruction from experts on effective development of plans to protect local watersheds and how to put such plans into action. Participants are also given the opportunity to work together to practice the skills taught during the seminars as well as meet others involved in watershed protection.
“We’ve gotten overwhelmingly positive feedback from the participants,” Parkins said. “Specifically, they have appreciated learning the nuts and bolts of the planning process. Many people attended the workshops because they were about to begin or were already in the middle of creating a watershed management plan, and the workshops were designed to help them garner resources and successfully implement their plans.”
To date, workshops have been held in Asheville, Salisbury and Chapel Hill. The final session will take place June 15 and 16 in Kinston, NC.
Parkins hopes that the program will continue to grow and meet the needs of the watershed professionals in North Carolina.
To learn more about The Tools of Watershed Management Workshop, visit: https://ie.unc.edu/tools-watershed-management/
To learn more about about ERP’s watershed stewardship, visit: https://ie.unc.edu/watershed-stewardship/