Water Funds are governance and financial mechanisms organized around the central principle of watershed conservation.
This document is intended to assist people working on Water Funds to understand their information needs and become familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of various monitoring approaches. This primer is not intended to make people monitoring experts, but rather to help them become familiar with and conversant in the major issues so they can communicate effectively with experts to design a scientifically defensible monitoring program.
The document highlights the critical information needs common to Water Fund projects and summarizes issues and steps to address in developing a Water Fund monitoring program. It explains key concepts and challenges; suggests monitoring parameters and an array of sampling designs to consider as a starting-point; and provides suggestions for further reading, links to helpful resources, and an annotated bibliography of studies on the impacts that result from activities commonly implemented in Water Fund projects. While this document highlights the importance of setting clear goals and objectives, which will guide a Water Fund and its activities and define what information should be tracked, it does not provide detailed information about how to develop goals and objectives.
For more information on this process, see the Conservancy’s primer on Water Fund creation and design, Water Funds: Conserving green infrastructure: A guide for design, creation and operation.