Over the years, we have helped create and support many of the nearly 400 watershed associations in Pennsylvania. We created the Fact Pack instructional materials to provide guidance on forming watershed associations, developing strategic plans, fundraising, and membership development. POWR implemented a stream signage program to locate named signs on watersheds all around the state. We created a national model in the Sojourns program, reaching a thousand participants, who paddle over 500 river miles and receive over 100 educational programs each year. In 2009, POWR began to enhance its communications materials, developing new brochures, a new e-newsletter called “Flow,” and launched its first blog. Finally, POWR also established the Keystone Monitoring Network with dozens of local volunteer monitoring organizations providing countless datapoints on water quality across the state. We’re constantly on the lookout for ways to help our member watershed associations achieve their goals, build a broad-based community of water conservationists, and ensure the long-term protection of Pennsylvania’s over 80,000 miles of streams, creeks, and rivers.
The hundreds of watershed associations in Pennsylvania are highly diverse in both structure, capacity and needs. Some of these organizations are well established, having incorporated many years ago. They have stable foundations consisting of committed boards, active memberships and a well known position in their community. Other organizations are relatively new and unincorporated with somewhat uncertain futures. The vast majority of the groups are between these two extremes; they are typically incorporated nonprofits, under 10 years old, run by a core of dedicated volunteers and in need of funding. All the groups have an ongoing need to communicate their message and grow their membership because most depend heavily on members for dues, communication and volunteer work. POWR’s role is to provide capacity building services, leadership on rivers conservation and recreation, and an active voice in Harrisburg on key policy issues.