SMP Nuts and Bolts

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Initiate Conversations and Identify Leadership

Use Existing Collaborative Structures

Having a cross-section of participating water users, land managers, and resource advocates is essential to SMP success. Often, these stakeholders are already collaborating on projects and have a leadership structure in place, which can minimize the need for time-consuming relationship building. These tested stakeholder groups have already built trust through strong histories of planning and project work with multiple water users.

In addition to using past successes, look to the current needs of water managers and include them. Many water management entities are planning for future needs, whether through infrastructure improvements, new water rights acquisitions, or meeting federal or state permit requirements, these planning processes can align with SMP goals. Before undertaking a new process, learn about existing planning at the local, state and federal levels.


  1. The Colorado Watershed Assembly hosts a map and directory of Colorado’s watershed groups and soil conservation districts.
  2. Appendix D of the Colorado Water Plan lists all of the existing watershed plans in Colorado.

Consider Capacity and Culture

Engage the Basin Roundtable

Colorado SMP Library