The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is encouraging the development of rapid watershed assessments in order to increase the speed and efficiency generating information to guide conservation implementation, as well as the speed and efficiency of putting it into the hands of local decision makers.
Rapid Watershed Assessment (RWA) is a new initiative by NRCS. RWA’s organize into one document, information that local conservationists, landowners and others can use to identify conservation opportunities, and direct technical and financial resources to the appropriate watersheds.
Rapid watershed assessments provide initial estimates of where conservation investments would best address the concerns of landowners, conservation districts, and other community organizations and stakeholders. These assessments help land-owners and local leaders set priorities and determine the best actions to achieve their goals.
These assessments are conducted by watershed planning teams traveling through each watershed, meeting with landowners and conservation groups, inventorying agricultural areas, identifying conservation opportunities and current levels of resource management, and estimating impacts of these opportunities on the local priority resource concerns. This concept closely mirrors what has been used in the Klamath Basin.
Rapid watershed assessments provide a foundation for watershed or area planning. They will be valuable for Farm Bill program delivery, and provide useful information for county, watershed and regional planners.