Watersheds are complex systems due to the interaction between human land uses and natural elements such as climate, surface water, groundwater, vegetation, and wildlife. To help protect and remedy impacts to water quality and ecosystem health, AES designs watershed plans that provide overarching objectives and site-specific improvement recommendations.
Within the framework of the U.S. EPA’s Nine Elements, AES watershed plans prescribe broad actions for communities along with actionable, prioritized projects that improve watershed health. Watershed plans are foundational to grant funding available for project implementation.
AES watershed planning services
- Scoping + Grant Procurement Assistance
- Management Planning
- GIS Data Management + Mapping
- Public Education + Outreach
AES has been researching watersheds ever since our co-investigation of Chicago’s Des Plaines River watershed with Dr. Luna Leopold in the late ‘70s. Since 2004, when the US EPA issued its Nine Elements guidelines, we have authored nearly a dozen EPA approved plans in Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa.
The watershed planning process is always a collaborative effort involving multiple stakeholders with a primary objective of restoring impaired waters and protecting unimpaired waters. The process and approach developed by AES planners involves six essential steps:
- Development of a stakeholder committee dedicated to water quality and natural resource improvement
- On-the-ground field inventory to locate actionable BMP projects and gather data on existing conditions
- Identification of problems areas in the watershed to be addressed in order to achieve water quality targets
- Development of goals and objectives for the watershed
- Development of an action plan designed to meet the goals and water quality targets over time
- Education of stakeholders about the plan and how to use it as a tool for public education, for implementation and funding of restoration projects, for land planning and other purposes
Once plans are EPA approved, AES helps with plan implementation, offering comprehensive design/build services on projects, as well as scoping assistance for implementation grant applications.