Watershed assessment has become a cottage industry in recent years in the environmental field. Many states have tried to assess watersheds with the help of citizens' groups. These attempts have met with limited success in our opinion. So called watershed engineering groups have sprung up everywhere claiming expertise in these areas but seldom delivering what is necessary. Watershed analysis encompasses a variety of issues from land use, benchmarking, chemical analysis, recreational aspects, biological, and unfortunately political considerations. Proper watershed analysis always starts with benchmarking. Watershed analysis should be done by competent environmental scientists not citizens. There are legal reasons as well as scientific protocols that should be followed.
Whether you are part of industry, education, fishing or an environmental group the watershed analysis should not have any weak points. If the analysis has these weak links it will cause a great amount of money, time, and effort to be wasted. Total watershed analysis also has deep geological components because these physical parameters will determine how chemical and biological pathways will react.
Watershed models should take into account a number of important characteristics including: hydrology, stream conditions, historical avenues, water quality, geology, stream characteristics, vegetation, community resources, erosion, land development, inputs from other systems and political realities.
Watershed assessment involves two major components watershed management and watershed protection. It does little good if the assessment phase comes up with a great management plan but it fails because the tools, money, time, or effort are not their to implement the protection plan.
Watershed assessment must be done in the proper order. Since money is usually an issue, a priority list should be the starting point. What are the goals and objectives to be accomplished and at what cost can they be done? Gene Macri understands these issues and will work with industry or groups to properly assess, manage, and protect the watershed.