Upper American River
Watershed Program


The upper American River watershed is facing substantial threats from various recent disasters including wildfires, pandemic, droughts, and floods. These threats are expected to be exacerbated as the effects of climate change manifest. Only through collaboration and cooperation among all responsible parties and beneficiaries, can we create and realize a cohesive vision for watershed management that is sustainable and equitable to preserve our watershed for future. This program aims to take steps toward this shared future.

EDWA is facilitating this program consistent with their authority provided by the 1959 El Dorado County Water Agency Act (Act). EDWA was awarded a 2021 Cooperative Watershed Management Program Phase I Grant to form a watershed group and start watershed planning, action, and project development.

Programmatic Watershed Plan

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The Programmatic Watershed Plan (PWP) was developed by the Upper American River Watershed Group (UARWG) to establish a cohesive and shared vision for sustainably managing the upper American River watershed for long-term resiliency and community prosperity.

It presents a holistic approach to leverage natural, built, and social capitals to create and reinforce the expansion of natural, built, and social capacities for watershed sustainability and community resilience. The PWP is a policy plan and roadmap for all parties to collaboratively implement their corresponding actions in a coordinated and cohesive manner to achieve landscape-scale improvements. Completed in November 2023, it is anticipated to be reviewed for potential updates.

Upper American River Watershed Group

The UARWG is a diverse group of stakeholders, including local land use authorities, water purveyors, resource conservation districts, non-governmental organizations, Tribal governments, and state and federal agencies. The UARWG met regularly over 18 months to provide feedback on the direction and content of the PWP and continues to meet to support implementation of the PWP. It is anticipated that all UARWG partners will continue advocating for the PWP's shared vision and actively developing collaborative and equitable partnership within and beyond the upper American River watershed to support PWP implementation.

Group Materials

EDWA Implementation Plan
To realize long-term benefits to El Dorado County resulting from the PWP, we developed an implementation plan to affirm EDWA's objectives and continued participation that are consistent with our roles and responsibilities. On November 8, 2023, our Board adopted the polices and guidance listed in this implementation plan to support our agency to continue convening the UARWG and implement relevant elements of the PWP.
Valuation of Ecosystem Goods and Services
The PWP identifies that one major challenge to sustainable watershed management is that our watershed is not properly valued. Recognizing the importance of valuing our watershed to guide future watershed and related investments, EDWA appraisal studies to value about half of the ecosystem good and services in the upper American River watershed. These studies will expand shared understanding of the value of our watershed and promote innovative management and financial strategies to facilitate landscape-scale improvements. 
Related Planning Materials