Watershed Management Initiative (WMI)

The Watershed Management Initiative (WMI) was developed in response to recommendations from:

  1. The Boards’ Strategic Plan,
  2. Technical Advisory Committee reports to the State Water Board on improving nonpoint source management, and
  3. Recommendations of the Inland Surface Waters Plan’s Watershed Task Force.

A key component of the WMI is the prioritization of water quality issues. Each Region develops a Watershed Management Initiative "Chapter", which is a staff-level planning document outlining the priority watershed in the Region, the water quality problems in the Region, and actions being taken to address water quality. The Chapter allocates time and resources to water quality issues according to management priorities.

The State Water Resources Control Board, Regional Water Quality Control Boards, and the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), through the WMI, are pursuing the following goals:

  • Encourage and practice comprehensive natural resource stewardship that is balanced with economic and other interests.
  • Promote voluntary, collaborative decision-making at the local level that is open to all stakeholders and seeks to identify compatible interests.
  • Integrate point source regulatory programs, nonpoint source programs, and other resource management programs on a watershed basis to promote effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Give more emphasis to reducing the impact of nonpoint sources.

In 1998, California developed and implemented the 1998 California Unified Watershed Assessment (UWA) in response to the Clean Water Action Plan released by President Bill Clinton on February 19, 1998. The UWA was a collaborative process between the State and the USEPA and was developed to guide allocation of new federal resources for watershed protection. The list below shows the watersheds in the Colorado River Basin Region and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Cataloging Unit number, and links to the USEPA’s “How's My Waterway" information for the individual watersheds. The information contained on the How's My Waterway Website is not necessarily accurate.

Watersheds in the Colorado River Basin Region, as delineated by the USGS

Watershed Name USGS Cataloging Unit No.
Salton Sea
Southern Mojave
Havasu-Mohave Lakes
Piute Wash
Imperial Reservoir
Lower Colorado

In Region 7, the focus of the WMI is the TMDL Program. The Priority Watershed in Region 7 is the Salton Sea Transboundary Watershed. Within the watershed are 5 (out of a total of 6) of the Region’s impaired surface water bodies. Currently underway are efforts to develop TMDLs for silt for the Alamo River and bacteria for the International Boundary.