A guide to collaborative catchment management

Organisation: Various

Location: National

Taking the decision to get involved in setting up a catchment based initiative is the start of a journey. This is not a traditional or conventional way of working. Instead of relying on one expert organization to define what needs to be done, with other interested individuals or groups contributing some ideas or feedback, taking a Catchment Based Approach means bringing together all those with interests in the catchment to identify priorities for action and how they could integrate their actions and resources to achieve them.

There is no blueprint or template for this process. Each catchment will face its own challenges and the organisations who become involved will need to reflect the range of interests in the catchment as well as local history and culture.

There is no one way of making these elements work together to bring about improvements in the catchment, it is about the people involved in developing their own solutions.

The objective of the guide is to provide:

  • A set of questions to help lead organisations and partners to identify and agree common objectives, develop ways of working together that build mutual trust and capacity for action, map the issues in their catchment and define priorities for action;
  •  A description of how catchment partnerships can feed their priorities into River Basin Management Plans (for the Water Framework Directive) and the requirements they will have to meet to do so. Contributing to River Basin Management Plans does not have to be the only or even the principal focus of catchment-scale collaborative working; however, it is a central motivation for many partners and provides a rationale for much of the action undertaken.
  • Tools for working collaboratively at the catchment level (in Appendix 1) along with case studies to provide ideas about approaches that have proved successful in the past and of some common pitfalls (Appendix 2).

The Guide draws on the findings of the evaluation of the pilot phase of the Catchment Based Approach. It covers the first stages of setting up and developing the approach, as far as planning for action to deliver improvements. The delivery stage and the challenge of achieving lasting improvements are beyond its current scope. The intention is that as groups work together, they will reflect on what they have done and share what they have learned. This feedback will ensure the Guide will evolve as the people involved will contribute to enriching the Catchment Based Approach.

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