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Developing participatory models of watershed management in the Sugar Creek watershed (Ohio, USA)

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Author(s): Jason Shaw Parker | Richard Moore | Mark Weaver

Journal: Water Alternatives
ISSN 1965-0175

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 82;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: Agriculture | conservation | culture | participatory | watershed

ABSTRACT
The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has historically used an expert-driven approach to water and watershed management. In an effort to create regulatory limits for pollution-loading to streams in the USA, the USEPA is establishing limits to the daily loading of nutrients specific to each watershed, which will affect many communities in America. As a part of this process, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency ranked the Sugar Creek Watershed as the second "most-impaired" watershed in the State of Ohio. This article addresses an alternative approach to watershed management and that emphasises a partnership of farmers and researchers, using community participation in the Sugar Creek to establish a time-frame with goals for water quality remediation. Of interest are the collaborative efforts of a team of farmers, researchers, and agents from multiple levels of government who established this participatory, rather than expert-driven, programme. This new approach created an innovative and adaptive model of non-point source pollution remediation, incorporating strategies to address farmer needs and household decision making, while accounting for local and regional farm structures. In addition, this model has been adapted for point source pollution remediation that creates collaboration among local farmers and a discharge-permitted business that involves nutrient trading.
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