Collaboration Toolkit

« Back to the Main Stages of Collaboration

Set Specific Goals and Propose Initial Protection Activities

Define your benchmarks of progress

Consider your priority concern. How can you define the state of your source water? Create a list of ways your collaborative can easily measure and track protection. Here are some examples…


If you’re concerned about____________, you might define your progress by…

Nitrates in groundwater or surface water. Nitrate loading level from point and nonpoint sources.
Amount of fertilizer used or sold in your county.
Stormwater impacts. Number of communities enacting zoning or stormwater management ordinances.
New development impacting surface water. Percent impervious cover in the watershed.
Agriculture impacts. (general) Number of farms implementing BMPs.
Manure loading from dairies or animal feeding operations.
Acid mine drainage. Levels of heavy metals in source water monitoring stations.
Reduced biodiversity and natural buffers. Stability and condition of riparian vegetation. Reduced biodiversity and natural buffers. Miles of buffers established (e.g., through USDA/NRCS conservation funds and voluntary landowner efforts). Aquatic community metrics, including diversity indices.
Permit violations. Number of facilities in violation and volumes discharged.
Percent of population in your state served by systems in waters listed as impaired.

Determine activities to get started

Even if your collaborative is still new, think about starting pilot actions geared toward tangible outcomes. Working on even small-scale actions will help your group form an identity. A sense of forward momentum will help energize collaborative members.

Ground your actions in specific measures of progress (such as those above) to set reasonable goals. For example:

  • A group that seeks to reduce “percent imperviousness upstream” can stage trainings for forest owners on land conservation.

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