The Watersheds

What watershed do you live in?
Watershed: Hover over a watershed
Watershed Management Plan: Hover over a watershed
Plan Status Hover over a Watershed

Watershed Management Plans (WMP) are developed for the smallest drainage areas classified by the U. S. Geological Survey: 12-Digit Hydrologic Unit Codes (or HUCs), usually named for the water body to which the land drains without regard for geopolitical boundaries. These plans depend upon public involvement and “stakeholders” who know the area, recognize its problems, and are invested in its health and resilience. A WMP is expected to conform to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency’s nine key elements for reducing pollution in receiving waters. These plans encompass the implementation of practices and measures of the Alabama Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program to enhance coastal waters. Each plan includes a watershed description that educates communities about the geography, geology, biology, ecology, and hydrology of the drainage area’s land and water.  It identifies causes and/or sources of pollution or impairment, identifies gaps in data related to watershed conditions, and estimates pollutant loads that enter the receiving waters. Each WMP sets pollution reduction goals and identifies potential solutions or management measures to achieve those goals. A WMP provides an implementation program that includes a project implementation schedule, interim milestones, ways to measure or monitor progress, an education/outreach plan, and identification of technical and financial resources needed to ensure implementation program success. Finally, it prescribes a monitoring program and potential adaptation measures that may be necessary.

Some significant funding sources, including State Clean Water Act Section 319 Grants, require that a WMP has been developed. These plans ensure restoration efforts are based in science and fit into an overall management program. Watershed planning represents a collaborative shift from traditional city planning, where geopolitical borders limit actions to improve the condition of receiving waters.

Mobile Bay NEP Process for Contractor Selection for Watershed Management Planning