To protect our nation's water resources, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have declared a goal of “no net loss” of our nation's water and wetland resources to be a national priority for the past 20 years. To meet this objective, the EPA has encouraged states to develop state wetland conservation plans and incorporate stakeholders into the development of those plans. Recently, the Kentucky Division of Water initiated a streams and wetlands conservation planning process. As part of the process, we conducted surveys and interviews of Kentucky stakeholders in stream and wetlands issues. Results of the surveys emphasized three impacts of concern: sewer overflows and straight pipes, coal and energy development, and residential growth. Stakeholders had wide areas of agreement, although their perspectives were not entirely uniform. Perception of the relative importance of some types of impacts was dependent on job position, level of awareness, and watershed region. Kentucky's first phase planning process illustrates the importance of soliciting watershed-based multi-stakeholder input in conservation planning as mandated by the EPA. We conclude by recommending directions for a second phase of planning and a subsequent implementation stage for the streams and wetlands conservation planning process.
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