The Santa Fe Watershed Association has received a Phase 1 WaterSMART Cooperative Watershed Management Program grant from the Bureau of Reclamation. This is a very exciting opportunity to build on previous work that has been done in the Upper, Middle, and Lower watershed regions with extended in-depth stakeholder input, and to bring all of this information together for a complete watershed perspective.
We are thrilled to be working with GeoSystems Analysis and Utah State University to conduct Phase 1 stakeholder interviews, which will then be organized and summarized into a Q-Sort and geographically oriented.
Keep reading below for more details!
If you have pressing questions, would like to be included in the stakeholder survey, or have a suggestion for key stakeholders we should include, please email mori at santafewatershed dot org.
Our goal is to make this a useful, collaborative, and transparent process. We appreciate your interest!
Project Title: Linking Stakeholder Priorities with Water Management & Adaptation Strategies in the Santa Fe River Watershed
Summary: The Santa Fe Watershed Association is conducting a Watershed Restoration Planning Project focused on working with diverse stakeholders within the watershed to understand and document their watershed management priorities, issues, and concerns in order to reduce conflict and facilitate solutions to complex water supply issues. BOR Cooperative Watershed Management Program funds will cover time and effort associated with implementing a four-phase project to assess and link stakeholder priorities with ongoing watershed management. The first project goal is to gather, organize, and synthesize information regarding spatial relevance and context of watershed issues and current and pending management actions, and to compile a comprehensive list of stakeholders in the watershed. The second goal is to implement replicable procedures to document watershed priorities and concerns of diverse stakeholders that affect and are affected by the Santa Fe watershed. The third goal is to facilitate a deliberative workflow process with City and County water managers to identify areas of alignment and misalignment between stakeholder priorities and concerns with adaptive strategies contained in the Santa Fe River Basin Plan and other pertinent watershed management documents. These efforts will culminate in a Phase 1 watershed plan that documents specific steps watershed managers and the Santa Fe Watershed Association could collectively take to improve the integration of stakeholder priorities and concerns into targeted Basin Study adaptation strategies.
Human population density, socio-economic conditions and ecological character vary widely across the watershed. Accordingly, the issues requiring management attention (e.g., wildfire, river drying, riparian habitat loss, urban flood risk, agricultural water shortages, invasive species, water quality, illegal dumping, water conservation enforcement, etc.) also differ widely throughout the watershed. The unifying issue affecting all watershed segments, however, is the concern over future availability, sustainability and reliability of surface water supplies. Rio Grande basin climate models predict a 35% reduction in annual snowmelt runoff by 2100, while population projections in the Santa Fe River watershed are predicted to increase 35% within just the next 30 years. Combined with significant rises in air temperatures, these predicted climatic changes have important implications for human water demands and the health of forests, fish and wildlife, and ecosystems throughout the watershed.
Unsurprisingly, no new sources of water are expected to materialize. To meet current and projected human and environmental water demands, therefore, County and City water managers are collaborating on ways to maximize water conservation and optimize management of their joint water supply portfolios. One important example of this collaboration is a joint City-County partnership with the Bureau of Reclamation to complete the Santa Fe River Basin Study (Basin Study). The Basin Study, funded by Reclamation’s WaterSMART Program and completed in 2015, uses models and other tools to identify climate related impacts to water supplies, assess forecasted changes in water supply and demand, and identify and analyze potential adaptation strategies for the combined City and County water supply.
The Basin Study provides an essential road map for water planners, managers and decision makers. Successful implementation, however, requires a clear vision for how to productively and effectively engage with the diverse communities and interest groups who impact the watershed and are impacted by changing watershed conditions as well as City and County land and water management decisions. City and County water managers have identified as a key issue the need for developing more comprehensive, inclusive and replicable community outreach processes so that stakeholder priorities, ideas and concerns can be effectively integrated into decision making processes associated with implementing Basin Study recommendations. City and County water managers are interested in collaborating with the SFWA through this current grant opportunity to develop more comprehensive, inclusive and replicable community outreach processes so that stakeholder priorities, ideas and concerns can be more effectively integrated into their Basin Study implementation strategies.
Goals and Methods:
1) Gather, organize and synthesize information regarding spatial relevance and context of watershed issues and current and pending management actions, and to compile a comprehensive list of stakeholders in different portions of the watershed;
- Use GIS tools to stratify the watershed into discreet segments based on distribution of communities, watershed characteristics, land uses, etc.
- Review and synthesize Basin Study recommendations and associated management plans and link specific watershed management projects/issues, where applicable, to these spatial watershed segments
- Reach out to SFWA’s extensive list of contacts across each watershed segment to expand our list of stakeholders, with an eye to under-represented groups, in each area
2) Develop and implement replicable procedures for documenting watershed priorities and concerns of diverse stakeholders and interest groups that affect and are affected by the Santa Fe River watershed;
- Organize and implement stakeholder outreach efforts in each watershed segment to understand and map their watershed management priorities, interests, and concerns
- Conduct follow-up outreach efforts to review, sort and prioritize the full range of topic perspectives gathered in the previous step to identify areas of common ground and areas of strong disagreement
- A Q-sort procedure will be conducted by returning to representatives of all identified stakeholder groups to have them sort a set of statements representing the full assemblage of watershed priorities identified during the first outreach event. In this method, people sort statements representing the priorities according to the degree to which they agree or disagree with the statement (or priority). This results in a gridded output that can be quantitatively analyzed using Q-factor analysis in order to understand the different groups sharing similar priority assemblages. Interpretation of results will shed light on whether priorities are aligned or misaligned among stakeholders within watershed segments
3) Facilitate a workflow and deliberative process with City and County water managers to identify areas of alignment and misalignment between stakeholder priorities and concerns with adaptive strategies contained in the Santa Fe River Basin Plan and other pertinent watershed management documents; and
- Analyze results from stakeholder meetings and share and review results with City and County water managers to identify where community perspectives align or misalign with Basin Plan implementation ideas
4) Create a Phase 1 watershed plan that documents procedures, results, and recommendations regarding specific steps watershed managers could take to improve the integration of stakeholder priorities and concerns into targeted Basin Study adaptation strategies.
- Produce a suite of recommendations for addressing where more dialogue can be facilitated during subsequent efforts to seek common ground or resolution that allows planning to move forward productively
More Stakeholder Analysis Details:
Stakeholder analysis is useful to understand the diverse range of potentially conflicting stakeholder interests and involves key people in decision-making processes. This project’s stakeholder analysis will: a) document perceived critical issues and concerns held by stakeholders throughout the watershed, both watershed-wide and for particular segments; b) assemble a set of priorities for the watershed across stakeholders; and c) facilitate a prioritization sorting process with stakeholders.
Stakeholder representatives will be asked to: a) describe their position in the watershed; b) highlight and map their issues, concerns, and priorities for the watershed; and c) identify other stakeholders and their interests and influence in and on the watershed. Through this process, a more complete picture of the alignment and misalignment of the stakeholder interests and issues in the watershed will be assembled and mapped by watershed segment or at finer scales as relevant. This effort will expand the SFWA’s potential partnerships and give voice to previously under-represented groups. Systematic qualitative analysis of interview data will result in a preliminary portrait of the watershed’s stakeholders and issues with a corresponding cumulative “map” highlighting commonalities and differences across perspectives and associated with the core watershed segments defined during GOAL 1. It will also produce a full list of potential priorities and an analysis of watershed issues and concerns.
A Q-sort procedure will be conducted by returning to representatives of all identified stakeholder groups to have them sort the full set of statements representing the watershed priorities identified in Step 1. This gives everyone a chance to not only rate their own priorities but react to priorities raised by other stakeholders. In this method, people sort cards with statements representing the priorities according to the degree to which they agree or disagree with the statement (or priority). This results in a gridded output that will be quantitatively analyzed in order to understand the different groups sharing similar priority assemblages.