OSU watershed stewardship manual goes digital

December 30, 2005

CORVALLIS, Ore. - The hefty manual that has taught nearly 1,000 Oregonians how to protect and manage rivers, streams and wetlands has gone digital.

"Watershed Stewardship: A Learning Guide" is now available on CD from the Oregon State University Extension Service. The digital format makes it easier and more affordable to share sections of the 450-page manual used in OSU Extension's Master Watershed Stewards program, a streamside learning program similar to the OSU Master Gardener program.

"An increasing number of people are interested in watershed stewardship and reading sections of the manual," said Derek Godwin, watershed management specialist with the OSU Extension Service and leader of the Watershed Steward program. "We are offering the CD version to better meet their needs."

Whether presented on paper or CD, the Master Watershed Stewards program is much more than a creek-side biology primer. It is a comprehensive resource for creating community-based watershed councils, even in areas polarized by water politics.

Before any mention of hydrology, water quality or riparian habitat, the Learning Guide focuses on communicating effectively, developing dialogue and running a fair, open and honest meeting. It discusses "body language" and "active listening" and gives guidance for expressing and receiving anger. By addressing these human factors, the program has become a practical tool for consensus building.

"It is amazing that despite all the controversy surrounding water issues, so many volunteers have quietly stepped in and gotten their hands dirty on lots of valuable projects to help fish habitat and water quality," Godwin said.

To date, Master Watershed Stewards have contributed more than 14,000 hours of restoration work in 25 locations across the state.

News of the program's effectiveness has traveled far, drawing almost 300 inquiries from outside the state and around the world. International queries have come from Canada, Mexico, India, Pakistan and Botswana. Most are requests for assistance in setting up similar programs. The new CD will make it easier and more affordable to respond to future requests.

"Watershed Stewardship: A Learning Guide" (publication number EM 8714-CD) can be purchased through OSU Extension and Experiment Station Communications at 800-561-6719 or email: puborders@oregonstate.edu. EM 8714-CD is $15 plus $5 shipping and handling.

For complete information about the Master Watershed Steward program visit the OSU Watershed Extension website at: http://seagrant.oregonstate.edu/wsep/.

Author: Warren Volkmann, Peg Herring
Source: Derek Godwin