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Water: Estuaries and Coastal Watersheds

Chapter 2 - Community-Based Watershed Management Handbook

Chapter 2: Establishing a Governance Structure

Each estuary program develops a governance structure that serves as the forum for bringing together diverse stakeholders to identify issues and develop the Management Plan. This governance structure, referred to as the Management Conference, is composed of the NEP Program Office and various stakeholder committees. The governance structure acts as the organizational umbrella under which each program is conducted.

The NEP office can be located in a variety of institutional settings, from state or local agencies to universities or nonprofits. Its committee structure provides the platform for collaborative decision-making and reflects citizen concerns and the unique problems and characteristics of the watershed. A comparatively small area located within a single state generally requires a simpler committee structure than a much larger, interstate watershed. Most programs target five general constituencies as key members of the governance structure: elected and appointed policymaking officials from all governmental levels; environmental managers from federal, state, regional, and local agencies; local scientific and academic communities; private citizens; and representatives from public and user interest groups—businesses, industries, and community and environmental organizations.

This chapter explains how the NEPs develop a governance structure and support the work of stakeholder committees. The chapter describes how the NEPs provide a forum for open discussion, cooperation, and compromise that results in consensus. Examples of governance structures show how the NEPs set a course for their programs, direct day-to-day operations, coordinate with local governments, and ensure long-term financial support.

Assistive Technology: For individuals with disabilities, download Chapter 2: Establishing a Governance Structure (PDF) (17 pp, 510K, About PDF) designed for use with screen reader software applications, About Web Accessibility.

Download Chapter 2: Establishing a Governance Structure (PDF) (15 pp, 1.1 MB, About PDF)

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