Resources for Watershed Groups

Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin

Following is an alphabetical listing of many organizations that watershed groups may find helpful. In addition to those listed, consider looking for connections within local government (planning commissions, conservation districts, and environmental management or health departments). Additionally, you may want to reach out to community organizations in your community/state such as garden clubs, native plant societies, civic organizations, religious organizations, recreational organizations, historical and cultural organizations, Chambers of Commerce, environmental organizations, financial institutions, homeowner associations, parent-teacher associations, youth groups, senior groups, scout groups, large corporations and universities.

Watershed Groups

Alice Ferguson Foundation
The Alice Ferguson Foundation (AFF) was established in 1954 as a non-profit organization chartered in the state of Maryland. Their mission is to provide experiences that encourage connections between people, the natural environment, farming and the cultural heritage of the Potomac River Watershed, which lead to personal environmental responsibility. AFF shares the wonder and excitement of the Potomac River, a working farm, woods and wetlands each year with more than 10,000 students from the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area.

Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM)
The Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM) is a project of the Environmental Studies Department at Dickinson College. ALLARM’s mission is to: 1. Enhance local action for the protection and restoration of Pennsylvania watersheds by empowering communities with scientific knowledge and tools to carry out watershed assessments; 2. Provide Dickinson college students with opportunities to participate in community-based participatory research thereby enhancing the quality of their undergraduate education; 3. Continue to be a leader in volunteer monitoring in Pennsylvania and a national model for college-community partnerships.

Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay engages individuals, groups, businesses, other environmental organizations and not-for-profit groups to develop collaborative solutions to improve, preserve, and protect the Chesapeake Bay and all its resources. Bringing these diverse groups together enables the Alliance to find common solutions to protect the Bay’s unique natural resources for future generations while protecting its communities. The Alliance believes there can be healthy streams and rivers and a healthy economy.

American Canoe Association
Founded in 1880, the American Canoe Association (ACA) is a national nonprofit organization serving the broader paddling public by providing education related to all aspects of paddling; stewardship support to help protect paddling environments; and sanctioning of programs and events to promote paddlesport recreation.

American Rivers
American Rivers is the leading conservation organization standing up for healthy rivers so communities can thrive. American Rivers protects and restores America’s rivers for the benefit of people, wildlife, and nature. Founded in 1973, American Rivers has more than 65,000 members and supporters, with offices in Washington, DC and nationwide.

Center for Watershed Protection
The Center for Watershed Protection works to protect, restore, and enhance our streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands, and bays, creating viable solutions and partnerships for responsible land and water management so that every community has clean water and healthy natural resources to sustain diverse life.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) mission is to Save the Bay, and keep it saved, as defined by reaching a 70 on CBF’s Health Index. CBF’s vision is that the Chesapeake Bay and its tributary rivers, broadly recognized as a national treasure, will be highly productive and in good health as measured by established water quality standards. The result will be clear water, free of impacts from toxic contaminants, and with healthy oxygen levels.

Chesapeake Bay Program
The Chesapeake Bay Program is a unique regional partnership that has led and directed the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay since 1983. The Chesapeake Bay Program partners include the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia; the District of Columbia; the Chesapeake Bay Commission, a tri-state legislative body; the Environmental Protection Agency, representing the federal government; and participating citizen advisory groups.

Chesapeake Bay Trust (MD)
The mission of the Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT) is to promote public awareness and public participation in the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributary rivers and streams. CBT’s goal is to increase stewardship through grant programs, special initiatives, and partnerships that support environmental education, demonstration based restoration, and community engagement activities.

Chesapeake Stormwater Network
The CSN seeks to improve on the ground implementation of more sustainable stormwater management and environmental site design practices in each of 1300 communities and seven states in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Conservation Service (National)
Originally established by Congress in 1935 as the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), NRCS has expanded to become a conservation leader for all natural resources, ensuring private lands are conserved, restored, and more resilient to environmental challenges, like climate change. Seventy percent of the land in the United States is privately owned, making stewardship by private landowners absolutely critical to the health of our Nation’s environment. NRCS works with landowners through conservation planning and assistance designed to benefit the soil, water, air, plants, and animals that result in productive lands and healthy ecosystems.

State Conservation Districts

Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts (MASCD)
The MASCD serves as the voice for Maryland’s 24 soil and water conservation districts on state legislative issues. It also provides a forum for training, policy-making and the exchange of information at their annual and quarterly gatherings. MASCD Mission is to promote practical and effective soil, water, and related natural resources programs to all citizens through individual conservation districts on a voluntary basis through leadership, education, cooperation and local direction.

Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts
The Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. (PACD) works to enhance locally led efforts that support the wise use of the state’s natural resources. The PACD primarily serves as the collective voice for Pennsylvania’s 66 county conservation districts. Over the years the Association has played an integral part in shaping the modern conservation district by providing advocacy, education and training, program coordination and facilitation to districts and their constituents. The Association works side-by-side with private organizations, business and industry partners, and many federal and state agencies. Through a statewide network, the PACD leadership supports a multitude of locally led conservation efforts and stands ready to address future issues.

Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (VASWCD)
The Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (VASWCD) is a private nonprofit association of 47 soil and water conservation districts in Virginia and is classified accordingly as a 501(c)(5). It is a voluntary, non-governmental association of Virginia’s districts. The Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts provides and promotes leadership in the conservation of natural resources through stewardship and education programs. It coordinates conservation efforts statewide to focus effectively on issues identified by local member districts. The mission is to serve and strengthen soil & water conservation districts in the stewardship of natural resources.

The West Virginia Conservation Agency
Through the guidance of this agency and its partnership, also including six RC&D councils, resources are brought to local communities and land users to address a broad range of priority conservation issues. This cooperative, grass roots approach is proving to be an effective method for solving the natural resource management issues faced in West Virginia. The West Virginia Conservation Partnership is working with community leaders, local landowners and government agencies to build a productive State that exists in harmony with its environment. The West Virginia Conservation Agency (WVCA) coordinates statewide conservation efforts. The West Virginia State Code charges the WVCA (in Chapter 19- 21A-2) to conserve natural resources, control floods, prevent impairment of dams and reservoirs, assist in maintaining the navigability of rivers and harbors, conserve wildlife, protect the tax base, protect public lands and protect and promote the health, safety and general welfare of the people.

Ducks Unlimited
Ducks Unlimited conserves, restores, and manages wetlands and associated habitats for North America’s waterfowl. These habitats also benefit other wildlife and people

Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin
The Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin’s (ICPRB) mission is to enhance, protect, and conserve the water and associated land resources of the Potomac River and its tributaries through regional and interstate cooperation. Considered the “Nation’s River,” for more than five million basin residents, the river plays an important role in the lives of all. Through regional cooperation and partnerships, ICPRB is protecting the river and improving the quality of life in the watershed, as it has since 1940.

Izaak Walton League
The Izaak Walton League was formed in 1922 to save outdoor America for future generations. The League’s founders, who were avid anglers, named the organization after Izaak Walton, the 17th century author of The Compleat Angler, one of the most famous books on fishing.

Low Impact Development Center
The Low Impact Development Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of Low Impact Development technology. Low Impact Development is a new, comprehensive land planning and engineering design approach with a goal of maintaining and enhancing the pre-development hydrologic regime of urban and developing watersheds.

Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is a conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. They have protected more than 119 million acres of land and 5,000 miles of rivers worldwide. They work in all 50 states and more than 30 countries, addressing threats to conservation involving climate change, fresh water, oceans, and conservation lands.

Potomac Conservancy
Potomac Conservancy protects the health, beauty, and enjoyment of the Potomac River and its tributaries. The Conservancy’s primary focus is protection of water quality through land protection and sound land use practices. Because clean water alone is not enough, the Conservancy also works to preserve and restore the Potomac’s scenic landscapes, and to enhance river-based recreational opportunities.

Sierra Club
To explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth; to practice and promote the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources; to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out these objectives. Since 1892, the Sierra Club has been working to protect communities, wild places, and the planet itself.

Trout Unlimited
Trout Unlimited is North America’s leading coldwater fisheries conservation organization, dedicated to the conservation, protection and restoration of trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds. The organization has more than 130,000 members in 450 chapters in North America.

Departments of Natural Resources/Environmental Quality/Environmental Protection

District of Columbia
The District Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) is responsible for the natural and indoor environments in the District of Columbia. DDOE’s work includes direct assistance to residents and businesses, policymaking, and monitoring and enforcement. DDOE programs are designed to facilitate cleaner air and water, green our neighborhoods and building space, and assist with the management of hazardous and toxic waste disposal. Additionally, DDOE conducts community and educational outreach to increase public awareness of environmental and energy related issues.

Maryland
In a sustainable Maryland, we recognize that the health of our society and economy is dependent on the health of our environment. Therefore, we choose to act both collectively and individually to preserve, protect, restore, and enhance our environment for this and future generations. The Department of Natural Resources leads Maryland in securing a sustainable future for our environment, society, and economy by preserving, protecting, restoring, and enhancing the State’s natural resources.

Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is charged with maintaining and preserving the 117 state parks; managing the 2.1 million acres of state forest land; providing information on the state’s ecological and geologic resources; and establishing community conservation partnerships with grants and technical assistance to benefit rivers, trails, greenways, local parks and recreation, regional heritage parks, open space and natural areas.

Virginia
Virginia’s diverse geography and abundant natural resources benefit agriculture, industry and commerce and provide a rich environment for people, plants and wildlife. To ensure the continued vitality of what the Commonwealth has to offer, the mission of the Department of Environmental Quality is to protect and improve the environment for the well being of all Virginians. DEQ administers state and federal laws and regulations for air quality, water quality, water supply and waste management. In addition, other programs cover a variety of environmental activities, such as improving the ability of businesses and local governments to protect the environment, and offering technical and financial assistance for air and water quality improvements. Through its seven regional offices, DEQ issues permits, conducts inspections and monitoring, and enforces regulations and permits.

West Virginia Department of Natural Resources

West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection

University Extensions

District of Columbia
The mission of the University of the District of Columbia Cooperative Extension Service (CES) is to enable District residents to improve their lives and communities through partnerships that put experience and research knowledge to work.

Maryland
University of Maryland Extension (UME) is a statewide, non-formal education system within the college of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. UME educational programs and problem-solving assistance are available to citizens and are based on the research and experience of land grant universities such as the University of Maryland, College Park.

Pennsylvania
Penn State Cooperative Extension is an educational network that gives people in Pennsylvania’s 67 counties access to Penn State’s resources and expertise. Helps individuals, families, businesses, and communities throughout Pennsylvania with information and a broad range of educational programs.

Virginia
Virginia Cooperative Extension is an educational outreach program of Virginia’s land-grant universities: Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, and a part of the National Institute for Food and Agriculture, an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture. Extension programs are delivered through a network of faculty at two universities, 106 county and city offices, 12 agricultural research and Extension centers, and six 4-H educational centers. Our system incorporates the expertise of faculty in the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Natural Resources, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station; as well as the School of Agriculture at Virginia State University.

West Virginia
WVU Extension Service meets the changing lifelong learning needs of people, organizations, and communities by putting knowledge to work. WVU Extension Service educators and volunteers build and help sustain collaborations and partnerships with people and organizations in West Virginia, to improve their lives and communities. Our programs and services strengthen leaders of all ages, youth, and families. We develop and teach best practices for sustainable agriculture, for responsible use of renewable resources, and stewardship of natural resources. We work to improve our state’s communities, workforce, and the economy.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Provide vital public engineering services in peace and war to strengthen our Nation’s security, energize the economy, and reduce risks from disasters. One of the community’s main missions is to serve as the champion for integrating and implementing the Environmental Operating Principles throughout the Corps.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 3, Mid-Atlantic Regional Office
The mid-Atlantic regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for programs in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Federal environmental programs include air and water pollution control; toxic substances, pesticides and drinking water regulation; wetlands protection; hazardous waste management; hazardous waste site cleanup; and some regulation of
radioactive materials. Activities include compliance and enforcement, inspection, engineering reviews, ambient monitoring, analysis of environmental trends, environmental planning, pollution prevention, risk assessment, and education and outreach.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a bureau within the Department of the Interior. Our mission is to work with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

Deepen your Knowledge

National Environmental Services Center: Watershed Planning from Start to Finish 

River Network Understanding the Clean Water Act

US Environmental Protection Agency: Online Training in Watershed Management


This list is by no means exhaustive and is ever-evolving. Please contact us if you have a suggestion for additions.