Copyright Taylor & Francis.

Published in Water International, Vol. 33 No. 2 (June 2008) at doi: 10.1080/02508060802024627


Local watershed planning is an increasingly important component of environmental management. This article provides an overview of local watershed management efforts occurring across the US and then focuses on one case study from southern Illinois. First, analysis of 1145 local watershed groups shows that government agencies, farmers, and rural residents are key stakeholders in local groups that primarily deal with regional environmental stressors in the form of soil erosion, nutrients, and agrichemicals. Second, the role of watershed partnerships in mediating the complex interactions among stakeholders and local water resources are investigated through a case study of one watershed group. The Cache River is located in the far-southern tip of Illinois and a watershed planning process was initiated there in the 1990s. An in-depth assessment of this watershed planning process was accomplished through participant interviews, stakeholder focus groups, and a regional telephone survey. This case study illuminates how different stakeholder groups have varying perceptions as to the efficacy and success of watershed management plans.