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GLAA Integrated Watershed Action Plans (IWAP)

Applying Ecosystem-Based Management for Healthy and Resilient Ecosystems, Communities & Economies

DEC's Great Lakes Program is leading a new pilot effort to develop ecosystem-based management (EBM) plans for two watersheds of regional interest, Cattaraugus Creek and Sterling-Wolcott Creek watersheds. These watersheds were identified as regional priorities for EBM by GLAA sub basin work groups, and will be proving grounds for demonstrating a collaborative, EBM approach at the watershed scale.

What is an IWAP?

The Integrated Watershed Action Plans (IWAPs) will be based on NOAA's Integrated Ecosystem Assessment framework for applying EBM and actions identified will directly support NY's Great Lakes Action Agenda.

The Integrated Watershed Action Plans (IWAP) will identify actions, including management strategies and projects, that maintain, protect and restore key ecosystem services and the benefits they provide, such as clean drinking water, fish and wildlife habitat, natural flood storage and mitigation capacity, viable agricultural lands, sustainable recreational opportunities, and more.

Expected outcomes of the IWAP include:

  • Develop a shared understanding of the ecosystem structure, functions, and processes that support people, fish and wildlife habitats, and local economies in each watershed.
  • Integrate and build on existing planning efforts to advance implementation, expand partnerships and leverage funding opportunities.
  • Develop indicators of ecosystem services to track ecological, social and economic benefits into the future.
  • Determine "best bet" management strategies, local projects and other actions that will sustain ecosystem services at the watershed scale.
map of cattauragus creek
map of sterling and Wolcott creek

DEC will be working with Ramboll, EcoLogic and many local and regional stakeholders to develop the IWAPs. Watershed Stakeholder Committees have been formed for each watershed, and robust engagement of communities, organizations and the public is planned throughout the 18-month project timeframe.

Watershed Stakeholder Committee Meetings

At public meetings for watershed stakeholders, DEC introduced the project background, schedule, concept model, and goals. Stakeholders are encouraged to provide feedback and to get involved.

How to Get Involved

Please contact your watershed project team of interest using the emails below:
Cattaraugus Creek -
Sterling-Wolcott Creek -

Cattaraugus Creek IWAP

Watershed Stakeholder Presentation - November 10, 2021 (PDF)

IWAP Public Meeting #1 and Draft Goals - March 1, 2022 (PDF)

Watershed Stakeholder Meeting #2 - May 4, 2022 (PDF)

Sterling & Wolcott Creek IWAP

Watershed Stakeholder Presentation - November 18, 2021 (PDF)

IWAP Public Meeting #1 and Draft Goals - March 8, 2022 (PDF)

Watershed Stakeholder Meeting #2 - May 9, 2022 (PDF)

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