MWCC Watershed Coordinators Handbook

The MWCC Watershed Coordinators Handbook provides materials essential to effective watershed coordination in Montana. Created in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), it includes a wide range of resources and materials, vetted and compiled by MWCC and our partners, covering the following topics:

Handbook Table of Contents

Overview of the Watershed Approach. The Watershed Approach to conservation is a distinct strategy for local natural resource management that requires community direction and leadership. The Watershed Approach is characterized by the 80/20 Rule, which posits that everyone agrees on 80 percent of topics and that it is only 20 percent of topics that divide us. The 80/20 Rule motivates us to move forward, foster trust, strive for balanced solutions, and ensure the vitality and productivity of  Montana’s rural communities.

How to Effectively Communicate and Tell Your Story.  Communicating with existing partners and reaching out to new ones are crucial to the long-term success of your organization. This section of the Handbook focuses on resources and materials to help you integrate outreach, communications, and storytelling into your day-to-day work.

 Coordination Tools and Resources. Technology can make community coordination easier and more efficient, but diving in can be overwhelming. This section provides resources and step-by-step instructions for effectively using technology and social media.

Working with Your Board of Directors.  Growing a board of directors or supervisors who are both representative of your key stakeholders and able to work together toward a common vision is crucial for organizational growth and sustainability. This section provides resources for watershed organizations looking to maximize their effectiveness through board and volunteer recruitment.

Working with State and Federal Agencies.  The geography of Montana is a patchwork of public and private ownership, and the agencies and organizations managing those lands are diverse as well. Engaging with public land managers can be a key factor for success at the project, basin, and landscape levels, but knowing who to contact and what resources they might have available are important first steps. This section provides an overview of key state and federal partners to help you broaden and enhance those relationships.

Attracting and Retaining Good Staff. Attracting and retaining good staff  requires up-to-date employee policies, effective supervision, and more. MWCC recently revised staff policies within our own organization; along the way, we compiled resources from diverse organizations that we now share with you.

Tools for Climate Data Reporting. Watershed coordinators need to be able to collect, interpret, and synthesize information on local waters, natural resources, and climate. But it can be difficult to draw the local information you need from what may seem like an overwhelming number of state and federal online resources. The Climate Data Monitoring Toolkit provides technical assistance to local watershed groups in this area. Examples of successful local reporting included here are the Blackfoot Challenge Weekly Irrigation Reports and Big Hole Watershed Committee Drought Management Plan.