The Initiative has been involved in watershed planning for the entire St. Joseph River as well as its sub-watersheds. We have organized stakeholders and produced watershed management plans for the Upper and Lower Cedar Creek, as well as the Lower St. Joseph and Bear Creek sub-watersheds.
A watershed management plan (WMP) is like a map. In order to know where you’re going, you need a map. In order to create a map, you need to know your territory and have some sense of where you’ve been and where you want to go. Planning involves input and involvement from the various stakeholders of the watershed, from experts to novices: landowners, land users, businesses, industry, institutions, government agencies – in short, everyone who lives, works in or uses the watershed.
Watershed plans guide stakeholders in their efforts to protect, restore, and enjoy the river and its resources. Plans provide benchmarks of the watershed, allowing us to understand where we are today. They communicate our vision, allowing us to project what we want the watershed to be in the future. And they establish our goals, so we can measure our progress.
The Initiative has produced three watershed plans to date. Our guiding document is the St. Joseph River Watershed Management Plan (2001, revised 2006).