As anyone who's ever been involved in group work knows, a major part of a project's success is to get everyone moving in the same direction. When your team players include twelve major federal agencies that make up the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, that task becomes exponentially more complex.
A recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant of $59,925 to the Council for Watershed Health aims to develop the beginnings of a comprehensive report card that can be used to measure progress and success of the different Urban Waters Federal Partnership agencies at the Los Angeles River watershed. The Los Angeles River Watershed assessment framework builds on previous research the Council has already piloted in a sub-watershed of the L.A. River and work ongoing at the Santa Ana River watershed.
"Our [proposed] system becomes the feedback mechanism into that 'table' where everyone's getting together and planning. The framework we generate will say 'Here's how your work together is going and how it's achieving,'" said Mike Antos, who sees the Urban Waters Federal Partnership as the proverbial table where major agencies are already working out ways to work together. Antos is the Research Manager for the Council, a non-profit formed by Dorothy Green that conducts watershed research and analysis and promotes an integrated approach to managing water and land resources.
According to Antos, the grant will cover 18 months of work and will include developing the framework and collecting data. However, the Council will still be doing some additional fundraising to cover analysis of the data and issuing a final report that will be both water professional and lay-audience friendly.
The EPA awarded a total of $2.7 million, ranging from $30,000 to $60,000 to 46 organizations around the country to support programs that promote restoration or urban waters. Other fellow California winners also included Brentwood's Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed and Fresno's Friends of San Joaquin.