A five-year Strategic Plan for Georgia River Network was created in 2006, as a continuance to the Strategic Plan created in 2000. As of fall, 2011, GRN is in the process of updating this plan for our work in the future.
Georgia River Network is working to ensure a clean water legacy by engaging and empowering Georgians to protect and restore our rivers from the mountains to the coast.
Our vision for the future of Georgia’s rivers is dependent on an active, effective citizen-led watershed group in every watershed in Georgia. These groups will help to protect and restore our rivers to their greatest potential as vital resources of the state. We envision natural, free flowing rivers with a rich array of native species, protected buffers, and public access. Our rivers should be free from pollution, such that all of our rivers are classified as fishable and swimmable. The healthy river ecosystem should be recognized and valued in its own right, in addition to the recognition that healthy rivers provide a valuable economic asset through recreation, tourism, and other ecosystem functions. In addition, our rivers should be aesthetically appealing in all parts of the state.
Georgia River Network is becoming the first contact for citizens seeking to protect and restore the streams and rivers within their communities. Georgia River Network will undertake an aggressive effort toward building a truly integrated statewide network and will be the voice for concerns that transcend watersheds. The vision of Georgia River Network is to be a democratic and transparent organization with a continually growing membership of individuals and grassroots community organizations, such that we broaden the base for clean water efforts in Georgia. We will be a professionally staffed, well-endowed and funded organization that is well known for being honest and credible, with a high level of integrity and political clout. In short, the Georgia River Network will be the model for other successful efforts throughout the Southeast.
1. Supporting Local Watershed Groups
Central to Georgia River Network's mission is providing ongoing support, training, and assistance to local watershed organizations. It is through the strong and effective local watershed organizations that citizens are engaged in protecting Georgia’s rivers.
1.1. Continue to provide training, assistance, and technical support to strengthen local and regional groups across Georgia. This includes assistance in formation, meeting facilitation, strategic planning assistance, technical and policy information and training, and organizational development consultations.
1.2. Facilitate information transfer among watershed groups through the Annual Conference, GRN News Stream and Newsletter, watershed group directory, and the website.
1.3. Convene an informative, popular annual conference as a regular forum for clean water advocates from across Georgia to exchange information and to receive skills and issues training from experts. This conference also provides a place where citizen stakeholders can meet with one another and strengthen their resource protection networks.
1.4. Convene regional workshops on topics of importance.
1.5. Collect (and create when needed) relevant resources, information, and tools that are useful to Georgia’s watershed groups, and disseminate directly via the website and newsletters.
2. Work Towards Local Watershed Groups in all Watersheds across Georgia
Local watershed groups are vital to long term protection of Georgia’s waterways. We recognize that some watersheds lack watershed groups. Our experience indicates that GRN is unlikely to be successful in directing the establishment of a local watershed group. Analyses indicate two factors needed for establishing new watershed groups: solid on-the-ground leadership, and a pressing issue. To this end, GRN will work to identify issues for local groups to build around and continue outreach to citizens to build leadership on the ground.
2.1 Provide needed assistance to newly forming watershed groups and foster the development of new groups in the following ways:
• Identify waterways lacking watershed groups.
• Monitor issues in under-served watersheds to identify likely issues new watershed groups could form around.
• Expand grassroots public support for water protection through activities such as Paddle Georgia, regional meetings and conferences, and GRN outreach tools targeting watersheds in need of watershed groups.
3. Providing Guidance in Local Policy
Recognizing the influence that strong comprehensive local policies, land use and others, have on the long-term protection of Georgia’s waters, GRN will support local groups in work to influence local watershed protection policies. This new initiative will develop tools, sample policies, resources, and assistance to advocate for good land use policy.
3.1. Identify and share best practices of land use planning by sharing success stories and model best practice policies.
3.2. Providing training in local advocacy and campaign planning techniques. This may also include developing informational materials for local advocacy.
3.3. Identify resources and information about local land use issues and potential solutions.
4. Serve as a Voice for Local Watershed Groups at the State and Federal Level
GRN is in a unique position to enable local watershed groups to have a voice on statewide water issues.
4.1. Serve as a voice of and liaison to local watershed groups across the state.
4.2. Communicate with and marshal support from local watershed groups to effect state policy where opportunities arise.
4.3. Participate in state level activities:
• Actively participate in and support the Georgia Water Coalition.
• Monitor and comment on important policy decisions by state agencies via conversations, letters and public hearings/meetings.
• Monitor decisions of the Georgia Legislature and provide input on relevant policy decisions, via letters, meetings, and visits to the statehouse during the legislative session.
• Serve on stakeholder committees, when appropriate.
• Serve as plaintiffs when relevant and key litigation needs arise.
5. Communication and Outreach
Informed and engaged citizens on water related issues afford one of the best protections for Georgia’s waters. To this end, GRN will continue to provide information to the public about water related issues and watershed work. We offer opportunities for the public to become active in protecting watersheds within the state.
5.1. Grow and continue to improve the Paddle GA event.
5.2. Continually develop and update the website.
5.3. Continue to provide high-quality, informative newsletters to members and local watershed groups across the state. Our monthly electronic News Stream targets those working on water quality on a day-to-day basis; Confluence, our quarterly newsletter, is targeted to members and the general public.
5.4. Support efforts of other statewide outreach programs such as Rivers Alive and Georgia Adopt-A-Stream.
6. Membership and Fundraising
In order to be sustainable for the long term, GRN will continue to build its membership base and diversify funding sources. Goals given below will supplement the Fundraising Strategic Plan (Appendix 2).
6.1. Continue to diversify funding sources to be less dependent on foundation support. To this end, a yearly fundraising plan is developed by the Staff and Board.
6.2. Expand Georgia River Network’s individual membership for financial support and programmatic purposes.
6.3. Cultivate more major donors and corporate partners.
7. Organizational Development and Administration
In order for GRN to efficiently and successfully fulfill its mission, it is necessary for GRN to continue to develop the organization and increase capacity.
7.1. Improve the effectiveness and representation of the Board of Directors. The Board and staff will continually work to develop the Board; to expand its diversity in terms of geography, gender, experience, background, and knowledge; and to increasingly draw on the strengths, skills, ideas, and leadership of individual members. We will increase the use of subcommittees of the Board to conduct work between quarterly meetings.
7.2. Expand the GRN staff in order to implement our long term goals and deliver services. A third staff person, the Watershed Support Coordinator, was hired in 2006.
7.3. Ensure adequate infrastructure to support staff and GRN over time.
• Annually evaluate the Executive Director and staff.
• Annually develop a budget, cash flow projections and coordinated fundraising plan. Continually evaluate and monitor all to ensure income and expenses meet projections and that future needs will be met.
• Conduct an annual review of the prior fiscal year’s financial reports.
• Annually develop a plan of work for both the board and staff.
• Identify and plan for needed professional development for all staff in the annual plan of work.
• Identify and plan for needed training for the board of directors in the annual plan of work.