Watershed Restoration: Principles and Practices

Chapter 11: Achieving Private-Sector Involvement and Its Implications for Resource Professionals

W. M. Turner

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781888569049.ch11

Private-sector involvement is critical to broad-scale watershed protection and restoration. Of the watershed area in the United States, 71% is in nonfederal ownership. In many states, the percentage is much higher; 27 states have more than 95% of their watershed area in nonfederal ownership (Table 11.1). In those states that do have a high percentage of government-administered lands, private interest groups representing industry, recreation, and the environment exercise great influence in water and land use decisions.

Past and present actions of both government and private-sector decision makers have resulted in degraded watersheds and associated aquatic ecosystems in the United States. Successful watershed and riverine management will not occur until those who make decisions about water and land use for both privately owned and publicly-owned lands change their perspectives and actions. The opening epigram from Albert Einstein says it best, and to progress beyond our historic level of thinking, we must understand the past attitudes and actions that have created the problems and clearly focus on the changes needed for success.