This is the second post in a three-part blog series on data management. This post will focus on the data handling processes involved in the development of the EFC’s Revenueshed tool.
As mentioned in the first part of this blog series If you build the data platform, will they come?, EFC’s design team regularly asks the following three questions when creating a new tool.
(1) Who are the users?
(2) What is the project’s purpose?
(3) What data exists to support this purpose?
The above graphic illustrates one of the main challenges of watershed protection: jurisdictional and watershed boundaries rarely align. This issue generates questions about who is responsible for, and who should pay for, watershed protection. Over the past decade, the Environmental Finance Center at UNC has developed and applied the concept of a revenueshed to help communities answer such questions. We define a watershed protection revenueshed as the area within which revenue is generated for watershed protection. Thinking in terms of this concept can help address watershed protection challenges by (1) cultivating accountability, (2) generating discussions among local governments, and (3) developing interactive financial tools to assist in policy decision-making. In a recent report for the Conservation Trust of North Carolina, we applied the revenueshed concept to the local framework of North Carolina’s Upper Neuse River Basin.