Watershed Planning Vision Process Workshops

Reports from a series of workshops on the development of a long-term strategy to protect and restore our surface waters.

Table of Contents

Overview and Purpose

In December 2013 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new collaborative framework for implementing the Clean Water Act (CWA): A Long-Term Vision for Assessment, Restoration and Protection under the Clean Water Act Section 303(d) Program (the Vision). The Vision was developed using over two decades of experience assessing and reporting on water quality and developing total maximum daily loads or TMDLs. States and EPA used those lessons learned to develop a framework for enhancing efficiency in achieving water quality improvement and protection goals. The Vision is a new framework for managing CWA program responsibilities.

Using this framework, MassDEP’s Watershed Planning Program organized a series of workshops and invited a wide variety of stakeholders to provide input on the development of a 10-year vision (the Vision) for the assessment, restoration, and protection of surface waters in Massachusetts. Four workshops were held, the first three focusing on various elements of the Vision: prioritization, monitoring, assessment, alternatives, engagement and integration. The last workshop was used to present a summary of the information, ideas, and priorities of the stakeholders. The comments were tabulated and summarized in Stakeholder input - vision workshops.

Additional Resources

November 9, 2016 Workshop: Clean Water Act Vision Kick-off

The Watershed Planning Program hosted a workshop to kick off the development of a Vision for the assessment, restoration, and protection of surface waters in Massachusetts under the Clean Water Act.

Workshop Objectives

  • Share MassDEP’s Watershed Planning Program’s mission and EPA’s national Vision framework;
  • Present each of the six elements of the EPA Vision framework (Prioritization, Assessment, Protection, Alternatives, Engagement, and Integration);
  • Provide examples of practices and tools under each element;
  • Collect input on opportunities to enhance the use of tools to achieve mutual surface water quality goals; and
  • Enhance stakeholder engagement by expanding and improving communication; and promoting the sharing of resources and experiences.

Speakers and Presentations


Session 1 - Panel & Discussion: Engagement, Prioritization, and Protection:

Session 2 - Panel & Discussion: Assessment, Alternatives, and Integration:

March 8, 2017 Workshop: Prioritizing Surface Waters for Protection and Restoration

Workshop Objective: To support the development of a 10-year Vision for prioritizing surface waters for protection and restoration.

Speakers and Presentations

Panel Presentations: Case studies were presented illustrating prioritization of activities for protection and restoration from varied perspectives and at varied planning scales. Each panel member gave a 10-minute presentation, followed by a 5-minute question-and-answer period.

  • Allison Roy, US Geological Service (USGS): Assistant Unit Leader, MA Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; also, University of Massachusetts: Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Conservation - Headwater Stream Restoration and Protection Prioritization.
    To request a copy of her talk, please contact Ms. Roy at aroy@eco.umass.edu or WPP's Anna Mayor at anna.mayor@state.ma.us.
  • Brad Chase, Department of Fish and Game: project leader for Diadromous Fish Biology and Management and Fish Passage and Habitat Restoration - Diadromous Fish Habitat Restoration Prioritization
  • Andy Hrycyna, Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA): Watershed Scientist - Prioritizing Alternative Restoration Plans
  • Phil Guerin, City of Worcester Department of Public Works and Parks (DPW&P): Director of Water & Sewer Operations - Prioritization within Stormwater Management

Breakout Sessions:

Prioritization for Protection & Implementation Measures: discussion focused on prioritization for protection of surface waters within the diversity of Massachusetts landscapes.

  • What are the resources in your area that drive the need for protection?
  • How do you/would you rank these?
  • Are these methods of ranking adequate? Are any critical needs left out?
  • What measures will achieve protection goals in your watersheds?

Prioritization for Restoration & Implementation Alternatives: discussion focused on prioritization for restoration, the implementation of TMDLs, and alternative plans and actions.

  • What are the threats to water quality in your area?
  • How do you/would you prioritize restoration efforts (examples: by pollutant, species impacts, waterbody, permit requirements, level of interest, ease of implementation, availability of resources)?
  • What are the barriers to implementation?
  • Who will plan and implement restoration actions? Identify partnership opportunities?

Facilitated Collective Discussion: Summarized and developed the common themes identified regarding prioritization of protection and restoration plans.

April 26, 2017 Workshop: Monitoring, Assessment, and the Engagement and Integration of Stakeholders

Workshop Objective: To support development of MassDEP’s long-term vision for the monitoring and assessment of surface waters in Massachusetts, and the engagement and integration of stakeholders in their restoration and protection.

Speakers and Presentations

Panel Presentations: A balanced monitoring program that supplies real-time defensible water quality information is only as strong as the program’s weakest link. The panel presented the key elements of robust monitoring and assessment programs that include program design, QAPP development, data collection, validation, management, analysis and reporting. Each panel member gave a 15-minute presentation, followed by a 5-minute question-and-answer period.

Morning Panel Presentations: Elements of a Balanced Monitoring Program

Breakout Sessions and Reporting - Monitoring & Assessment: discussion focused on monitoring and assessment needs.

  • What questions are you trying to answer through your monitoring program?
  • How did you select these questions - what were the drivers?
  • Why are answers to these questions important to you?
  • With whom do you share your data and how
  • How do you use your data when communicating with your target audience (and what is your target audience)?

Afternoon Panel Presentations: Engagement & Integration for Monitoring and Assessment

  • Chris Hirsch, Neponset River Watershed Association (NepRWA): Environmental Scientist - NepRWA’s Hotspot Program Partners with Local Towns to Find Sources of Pollution and Eliminate Them
  • Beth Lambert, Massachusetts Department of Fish & Game, Division of Ecological Restoration (DER), Director, Aquatic Habitat Restoration Program - Working Collectively to Preserve, Restore, and Reconnect our Cold Water Resources
  • Kristina Masterson, CDM Smith, Water Resources Engineer & Consultant to Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District (UBWPAD) - The UBWPAD's In-Stream Water Quality Monitoring Program

Facilitated Collective Discussion: Opportunities for Engagement and Integration: discussion focused on opportunities for engagement and integration and charting a new path forward.

  • What are your ideas for opportunities to collaborate with MassDEP, other Federal, State or Municipal departments, or other groups on water quality programs moving forward?
  • What limits opportunities for collaboration and partnership? How do we address these obstacles?
  • How can collaboration be enhanced moving forward?

November 29, 2017 Workshop: Stakeholder Vision for Surface Waters under the CWA in Massachusetts

Stakeholder Vision for Assessment, Protection and Restoration of Surface Waters under the CWA in Massachusetts

Workshop Objective: To summarize the feedback that was received from stakeholders during our three previous MassDEP long-term vision workshops and provide an update on monitoring initiatives.

Speakers and Presentations

Presentations: A summary of the discussions held in the previous two workshops on the six elements was presented.  Each 15 minute presentation was followed by 30 minutes of discussion.

  • Barbara Kickham, MassDEP, TMDL Section Chief: Prioritization: Protection, Restoration, TMDLs and Alternative Plans. This session summarized input from the March 2017 workshop which focused on prioritization for both protection and restoration of Massachusetts’ waters through the development of TMDLs and alternative plans. 
  • Anna Mayor, MassDEP, Water Quality Standards: Engagement and Integration. This session summarized stakeholder input gathered in the workshops on how we can enhance partnerships and align common priorities.
  • Therese Beaudoin, MassDEP, TMDLs and Monitoring: Monitoring and Assessment. This session summarized input from the April 2017 workshop where we explored answers to several questions concerning stakeholders’ monitoring programs through a series of talks and breakout sessions.
  • Kimberly Groff, MassDEP Director of Watershed Planning Program.  This session summarized investments in new initiatives to enhance our monitoring programs and partnerships. Highlights: New Monitoring & Other Initiatives at MassDEP
  • Wrap-up on the series of workshops: Kim Groff, MassDEP: Our Stakeholders' Feedback
Date published: December 9, 2016
Last updated: May 17, 2018

Help Us Improve Mass.gov  with your feedback

Please do not include personal or contact information.