Statewide Watershed Protection and Local Implementation: A Comparison of Washington, Minnesota, and Oregon
In 1991 EPA embraced the watershed protection approach for environmental management. EPA defines watershed protection as â a strategy for effectively protecting and restoring aquatic ecosystems and protecting human health.â To encourage statewide watershed protection, EPA developed the “Statewide Watershed Protection Approach” document, which is designed to aid states in developing their own watershed protection program. The watershed protection approach is not a program or policy required by EPA, rather a flexible framework that outlines the essential elements and components of a comprehensive statewide watershed protection approach. It allows for varying conditions in a state, but attempts to ensure a consistent general approach.
This paper describes the elements and components of EPA’s comprehensive statewide watershed protection framework. It then analyzes Washington, Minnesota, and Oregon’s statewide watershed protection programs, and examines how these state approaches reflect EPA's framework. In addition, the paper analyzes a case study in each of these states to explore how these statewide watershed management approaches are implemented at the local level. By analyzing states that have successfully implemented a statewide watershed protection approach, this paper aims to identify the critical elements in a statewide watershed protection approach, and identify the issues that are critical to successful local implementation.