The issues identified above are not singular unrelated problems. They cannot be fixed in isolation. They are symptoms of a larger concern and must be treated as a system. That system is the watershed! Watersheds are defined as areas of land that captures precipitation (i.e. rain, snow melt) and funnels it to a river, lake or stream. It is a community where people, business, agriculture, government, institutions, plants, and animals are interconnected by the common water resource. The community influences the watershed and the watershed influences the community. A watershed is a complex system and to protect its health everyone who has a stake in the watershed may have to make tradeoffs, compromises and maybe even some sacrifices to keep it healthy.
An Integrated Watershed Management Plan is simply an organized way of looking at big picture issues and setting long and short term priorities for improving the watershed. This plan will be holistic and provide a venue where all watershed residents, local municipalities and government agencies can openly discuss watershed concerns and work together to develop long term solutions.
The watershed plan will help set local priorities between need-to-do’s and nice-to-do’s and helps communicate to the public where the work will be done. It also demonstrates to senior governments that local people are in charge of managing their own resources. The plan will help groups like the La Salle Redboine Conservation District set programming agendas and direct limited funds to watershed priorities.