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)
In 2017, DendriFund provided a grant to support the Salt River Collaborative (SRC), over 20 organizations and agencies that share an interest in understanding and communicating the benefits of voluntary conservation measures in the Salt River watershed. DendriFund’s grant supported a mapping project that produced a series of maps and databases relevant to conservation efforts that the participating organizations and communities will use to set priorities for projects that fulfill their missions.
From conversations with members of the SRC DendriFund believes there is an opportunity to bring Salt River watershed stakeholders together to develop a shared vision and commitment for improving economic, social and environmental outcomes in the watershed.
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.
DendriFund provided a grant for the mapping project and is interested in further supporting collaborative work beyond the mapping given the importance of the watershed to the Louisville community, the alignment with DendriFund’s mission and vision and the potential to have a catalytic impact that goes well beyond any financial contribution DendriFund can make.
In 2019, the SRC members developed an Organizing Charter that governs how the members work together. The SRC is seeking additional grants to support its work, a key piece of which will be outreach to stakeholders across the watershed to understand conservation priorities, opportunities, and challenges.