Successful watershed planning can be enhanced by stakeholder involvement in developing and implementing plans that reflect community goals and resource limitations. Community DECISIONS (Community Decision Support for Integrated, On-the-ground Nutrient Reduction Strategies) is a structured decision process to help stakeholders evaluate strategies that reduce watershed nutrient imbalances. A nutrient accounting algorithm and nutrient treatment database provide information on nutrient loadings and costs of alternative strategies to reduce loadings. Stakeholders were asked to formulate goals for the North Fork Shenandoah River Watershed in Virginia and select among strategies to achieve those goals. The Vector Analytic Hierarchy Process was used to rank strategies. Stakeholders preferred a Maximum strategy that included point source upgrades, riparian buffers, no-till corn silage, wheat cover, and bioretention filters in developed areas. Participants generally agreed that the process helped improve communication among stakeholders, was helpful for watershed planning, and should be used for TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) planning. Participants suggested more attention be paid to ensuring that all relevant issues are addressed and all information needed to make decisions is available. Watershed planning should provide stakeholders with clear scientific information about physical and socioeconomic processes. However, planning processes must give stakeholders adequate time to consider issues that may not have been addressed by existing scientific models and datasets.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.