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Locally Led Model

How It Works

Graphic Showing how the various parts of the locally led process work together




Locally led conservation requires involving individuals and organizations in local communities in the planning process and having everyone working together to successfully execute a long range plan.


Conservation districts should play the lead role in the locally led conservation process.  The process, which is resource driven rather than program driven, should be used to guide and coordinate all federal, state, and local conservation efforts.

Why act locally?  Local stakeholders are often the people responsible for doing the work and reaping the rewards of an improved environment.  In addition, acting locally is the best way

  • To enable local stakeholders to identify major issues
  • To address the unique needs of an area
  • To foster local community ownership
  • To provide a local stakeholder forum on the needs for a healthy landscape
  • To incorporate local knowledge into the work being planned
  • To inject local values into the resource management discussion and decision making process
  • To develop support for the work

Involving technical experts may help non-technical people better understand the environmental and social processes they are addressing as well as the potential consequences of their management decisions on the resources.  This will enable local groups to make decisions that can be implemented to meet local resource needs. 

To realize common goals of the people and organizations in the community, participants have to find ways to agree about what the group wants to do, determine which goals take priority, and develop a reasonable time frame for accomplishing the work.  This does not diminish the importance of lower priority work.  It simply defines the work that is most crucial at that time for the community.  This prioritization helps to ensure that momentum and direction will not be lost.  The locally led process involves a sequence of steps to involve the entire community in both planning and implementation.  These steps include:

  • Reaching out to the public and bringing the local work group together
  • Setting local priorities based on public input and needs assessment
  • Identifying program resources available to address local needs and priorities
  • Reviewing and evaluating needs and accomplishments

Locally led conservation can occur in several ways.  Input can be received in many different formats and venues.  The following information is provided as one example of a process, utilizing local working groups, a district could implement to achieve the public input needed to determine resource concerns.  The information presented should be adapted to meet local needs.