More About a Watershed Resources Registry

A Watershed Resources Registry (WRR) is a powerful tool that integrates multiple Sections of the Clean Water Act. It can transform mitigation targeting away from a piecemeal approach, towards site selection based on the highest priority resource areas, those that offer the greatest benefit if preserved or restored. Each state decides what qualities or factors are most desirable for each of the spatial analyses. For example, most states would wish to encourage riparian restoration near impaired streams. Some states would allow wetland restoration in forested areas while other states would not. In this way, a WRR reflects each state's priorities and values. A WRR also promotes collaboration between regulatory agencies at the state and federal level, as well as between regulatory and non-regulatory agencies, and between the permit issuing body and the regulated agency or public.

The objective of the WRR is to map natural resource areas that are a priority for preservation or restoration. A major effort of the WRR process is a set of desirability analyses developed with sound science and the best professional judgment of regional experts, which will be used as a screening tool to target opportunity sites for the protection of high quality resources, restoration of impaired resources, and improvement of water resources.

A WRR is a comprehensive mapping tool and replicable framework that:

  • Integrates regulatory and non-regulatory programs
  • Guides resource planners
  • Conserves program resources
  • Highlights multiple environmental benefits
  • Maximizes watershed benefits
  • Is transparent and predictable

The spatial analyses specifically find and score opportunities for:

  • Wetland Preservation
  • Wetland Restoration
  • Riparian Preservation
  • Riparian Restoration
  • Natural Stormwater Infrastructure Preservation
  • Restoration of Degraded Stormwater Infrastructure Systems
  • Terrestrial Habitat Preservation
  • Terrestrial Habitat Restoration

By having both regulatory and non-regulatory agencies base decisions from a WRR, integration and the use of the watershed approach will become implicit and the effects of "stovepipe" processes will be minimized. The results will streamline the regulatory and non-regulatory processes and ensure maximum environmental results.

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Benefits of a Watershed Resource Registry

The Watershed Resource Registry is beneficial in that it:

  • Anyone can use the interactive website. It is used as a targeting tool for mitigation sites of a specific ecological opportunity or in a specific county or watershed. It also serves as a very low cost, easy-to-use platform for displaying and interacting with GIS data
  • It can simplify work for consultants as they can use the registry to select a few sites that show potential, then ground truth them to determine which is the best for their specific needs
  • The use of the WRR will save time and resources from a project delivery standpoint
  • It can help to identify areas that should be avoided, or conversely, areas where development would be plausible
  • It can provide additional resource information from an avoidance and minimization perspective during the design process, and can help inform decision making when it comes to appropriate stormwater management controls/BMPs and mitigation
  • The WRR can be used at the local level to guide master planning efforts
  • Organizations implementing the Chesapeake Bay TMDL can also utilize this tool

For more information or to contact a WRR representative please visit the Contact Us section.