Working in your watershed to improve water quality isn’t easy. From running a successful meeting to understanding the requirements of a grant, there are many challenges and questions that come up throughout the process. Fortunately, there are agency staff that can help you every step of the way and work with your team to help reach your goals. The Office of Water Quality has Watershed Specialists and Nonpoint Source Grant Project Managers at the ready in case questions arise. Below is a detailed explanation of the roles and responsibilities of these staff so you know who to contact when questions arise.
These staff are responsible for coordinating, advising, and assisting locally led watershed management activities within assigned watersheds, and for working with local, state, and federal entities to integrate watershed planning into local level planning. Watershed specialists work closely with watershed groups throughout the planning and implementation process and serve all groups in the state, regardless of how the group is funded. Their focus includes:
These staff are responsible for managing all aspects of nonpoint source grants awarded by IDEM to locally-led watershed groups and other entities working to reduce nonpoint source pollution. Project Managers work closely with grantees to insure that work products such as watershed management plans meet U.S. EPA and IDEM requirements, process invoices for payment, and support grantees with recommendations and technical support on tasks outlined in the grant agreement. Their focus includes:
Watershed Specialists are primarily responsible for the development and sustainability of watershed groups. This includes working to improve group organization, meeting structures, communication, and technical assistance. They assist groups with building successful partnerships, developing effective steering committees, running efficient and effective meetings, resolving stakeholder communication issues, and supporting the assigned project manager.
Project Managers are primarily responsible for the successful completion of IDEM nonpoint source grant agreements. They are the leads for questions, problems, or challenges associated with grant agreement requirements such as creating and approving grant-funded cost-share programs, reviewing draft watershed management plans against the IDEM checklist, reporting load reductions, and revising any monitoring strategy laid out in the grant agreement, IDEM policy, or U.S. EPA policy.
Remember, you can always get help from either a Watershed Specialist or your Project Manager. IDEM relies on these staff using their skills and talents to help effectively when needed. While a Project Manager will approve your cost-share program funded by an IDEM grant, the expertise of a Watershed Specialist can also be beneficial to the long-term success of the program. Both Watershed Specialists and Project Managers can provide technical support on mapping, monitoring, data analysis, load calculations, watershed plan development, and cost-share program development.
These staff may both be at your grant-funded watershed group meetings, but Watershed Specialists are primarily responsible for the human interactions that determine if a group is working towards sustainability and strengthening its efforts, while Project Managers are there to help your group meet the goals and tasks of your grant agreement. If you will be holding a critical meeting, schedule IDEM staff to attend in advance, and help us help you by letting us know what you are meeting about. Agendas are great tools for you, your stakeholders, and IDEM staff.
Watershed Specialists and Nonpoint Source Project Grant Project Managers work very closely and cooperatively with grantees to help these projects be as successful as possible. You may see both staff at meetings and events – IDEM is committed to having the needed resources available to answer questions and provide whatever support is needed. If one of us doesn’t know the answer to your question, we’ll find someone who does. Don’t be shy about seeking advice – we have dedicated, highly trained professionals ready to help!