While rivers and tributaries are critical for a healthy ecosystem, the land between these bodies of water is the foundation from which communities are built. Many that work, live on, and own these lands that make up the watershed do not realize their direct impact on water quality or are not able to see past barriers to changing practices that could increase water quality for the benefit of their communities.
Various individuals, businesses, and organizations have an interest in improving the environmental and economic conditions in the watershed, but they often work in silos. This can result in competing agendas and sub-optimal investment in the initiatives that will most improve conditions in the watershed.
Bring a “systems approach” to watershed community conversations from across sectors and disciplines – non-profits, municipalities, landowners and developers, business, tourism, policymakers, farmers, and others – to share perspectives and learn from each other about priorities, needs, and challenges to develop a shared vision and action plan forward.
DENDRIFUND WATER BOARD Co-LEADS:
SALT RIVER COLLABORATIVE (SRC)
Formed in 2015, the Collaborative is comprised of 25-plus organizations, agencies, and individuals committed to increasing large landscape conservation in the Salt River Watershed. For the first three years, the Collaborative has been operating relatively informally, coming together around shared interests, and completing a mapping project.
In 2017, DendriFund and others provided matching support to the Salt River Collaborative (SRC) to help produce a series of maps and databases relevant to conservation efforts. These maps provide the participating organizations a tool for setting shared priorities for projects and communications that inspire voluntary conservation initiatives.
These maps provide an opportunity for the SRC to bring Salt River Watershed stakeholders together to develop a shared vision and commitment for improving economic, social and environmental outcomes in the watershed that can serve as a model for others.
The collaborative group selected the Salt River Watershed as the focus for this mapping project because the watershed:
- Is home to over 1.5 million people and is one of Kentucky’s most rapidly urbanizing watersheds;
- Includes a strong base of existing conserved lands that could be linked through future land projects;
- Has many well-established conservation organizations working within it;
- Has opportunities to work with many diverse partners to enhance the distinctive characteristics of the region and to benefit the local economies; and
- Could serve as a model for other watersheds in the future.
With seed funding from DendriFund, in 2019, the SRC members developed an Organizing Charter that governs how the members work together. DendriFund has served the role of being a catalyst for joint action across the 18 county Salt River Basin and the SRC is now considering if they will move into the next phase to include greater public outreach and engagement.
Founding Organizations include:
- Louisville/Jefferson County Environmental Trust
- Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest
- Kentucky Natural Lands Trust
- US Fish and Wildlife Service
- KY State Nature Preserves Commission
- Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA)
- Future Fund, Inc.
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- Louisville Metro Parks
- Metropolitan Sewer District (Louisville/Jefferson Co.)
- Kentucky Waterways Alliance
- Kentucky Division of Water
- Salt River Watershed Watch
- Shire Environmental
- Bluegrass Land Conservancy
- River Fields
- Sisters of Charity of Nazareth
- University of Louisville
- The Nature Conservancy, Kentucky Chapter
- Louisville Metro Public Works
- KY Division of Conservation
- KY Heritage Council
- KY Karst Conservancy
- and other individuals and volunteers