Southern Regional Water Program

Research, Extension & Education Water Quality Programs through the Land Grant University System

Program Area: Watershed Education and Restoration

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Watershed education is a critical component of achieving lasting water quality improvements and watershed restoration. Many segments of society do not fully understand the watershed concept and its importance in environmental management and protection. Major regional needs are associated with watershed impairments resulting from hydromodification, agriculture, urbanization, forestry, mining, and other land uses.

Extension is a leader in providing education to local stakeholders, agencies, and natural resource professionals to improve decision-making and the use of management practices that diminish nonpoint source pollution. Extension outreach programs also effectively teach techniques for natural stream channel design, wetland restoration, and riparian protection. The Watershed Education and Restoration Focus Area Team, comprised of Extension professionals and partner agencies, facilitates regional coordination, increased sharing of successful programs among states, and development of effective educational resources that can be implemented regionally.

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Impacts:

Enhanced regional and multi-agency collaboration for watershed education and restoration program development and delivery, increased knowledge of participants in organized workshops, and reduction in nonpoint source discharges to surface and ground water resources.

Students from 14 states have attended the Southern Regional Water Program Watershed Academies: Principles of Water Quality Monitoring, Planning, and Restoration, and have learned to apply water quality and watershed management principles to understand and solve complex water resource problems. Twelve Watershed Academies have been conducted to date. Over 1200 natural resource professionals have participated in 30 stream restoration workshops in 16 locations in 8 southern region states (NC, AL, SC, GA, FL, MS, TN, KY). Over 30 demonstration projects are complete, with funding provided by USDA, US EPA, state agencies, and local watershed organizations. The educational program has resulted in changes in state and federal policy regarding stream mitigation to emphasize a more effective natural channel design approach. Mitigation projects are being designed and permitted to result in stable functioning streams based on the increased professional understanding of stream restoration techniques. The Team has implemented restoration projects on 24,000 acres and 120 stream miles. Riparian buffer restoration projects have been implemented on 45,000 acres.

For information on additional Land Grant University programs and research in Southern Region states addressing watershed education and restoration, return to the home page, select a state and choose from Target Themes.

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