Conservation Authorities believe an integrated watershed management approach is the best way to protect water and related resources.

Integrated watershed management (IWM) is the process of managing human activities and natural resources on a watershed basis, taking into account social, economic and environmental issues, as well as community interests in order to manage water resources sustainably, maintaining the integrity of aquatic ecosystems both now and into the future.

NBMCA has prepared an Integrated Watershed Management Strategy (IWMS), to plan and coordinate the management of the subwatersheds within NBMCA’s jurisdiction for the next 20 years: 2015 - 2035.  The IWMS evaluates the needs of 20 NBMCA subwatersheds that fall within 11 municipalities and 15 unorganized townships. These watersheds are assessed from a variety of perspectives to define environmental, social and economic needs in recognition of their interconnectedness.

The recommendations provided in the IWMS on key projects, studies and information gaps that need to be fulfilled are intended to guide the successful management of these watersheds and the future actions of the NBMCA and its partners in a collaborative manner. This IWMS has followed an open process to foster multiagency and stakeholder awareness and support. It was developed with the guidance of a multi-stakeholder Steering Committee and community consultations at key stages of the process. Management strategies are designed to meet strategic objectives that flow from mandated responsibilities under the Conservation Authorities Act and NBMCA mission and vision statements. General research and broad programs are delivered at a full watershed scale while concentrated research and specific programs are applied at a subwatershed or tributary scale. Many subwatersheds still lack sufficient baseline inventory data to accurately determine management needs at this time. Part of the implementation framework recommends actions to address these gaps.

Priorities to address future watershed management needs, champion new research, steer policy development and advance new leadership roles are integrated into an implementation framework at the document’s conclusion. Five-year action strategies are designed to guide the NBMCA until 2034. Actions not completed in a 5-year window will be carried into the next 5-year cycle for reprioritization. At each 5-year review assumptions for pending priorities will be examined to confirm they are still relevant.

From a “Protection of People and Property” core mandate perspective, the NBMCA relies on accurate hazard land information for developed and developing areas. As well as preparing new hazard land mapping for some areas, the updated mapping will be needed in other basins in the future as assumptions become outdated or as new information is made available.

From a “Conservation” core mandate perspective, the NBMCA identifies and protects significant watershed features. Further wetland inventories and the delineation of critical
habitats that support species at risk are outlined as priority actions for satisfying this responsibility.

From a watershed “Sustainability” core mandate perspective, the NBMCA meets this responsibility through most of its program initiatives. Overall the priority to meet this responsibility is rated as moderately urgent. The evaluation of five new integrated roles has determined that climate change and resource sector monitoring are essential functions for maintaining watershed sustainability.

In addition to NBMCA’s core mandates, it is recognized that effective, collaborative watershed management relies on additional strategies, including a broader “Stewardship” perspective.

This IWMS has singled out the need to enhance public stewardship within the NBMCA. This can be accomplished through the development of a new Stewardship Strategy. This IWMS tasks NBMCA to study its “human” resource base and to identify new ways to motivate people to assist in meeting targeted management activities.