Tailored watershed assessment and integrated management (TWAIM): A systems thinking approach

Joe Magner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Control of non-point source (NPS) water pollution remains elusive in the United States (US). Many US water-bodies which have been primarily impacted by NPS pollution have not achieved water quality goals set by Clean Water Act. Technological advances have been made since 1972, yet many water resources fail to meet water quality standards. Common Pool Resources Theory is considered to understand the human dimension of NPS pollution by exploring anthropogenic activities superimposed upon dynamic ecosystems. In the final analysis, priority management zones (PMZs) for best management practice (BMP) implementation must have buy-in from land managers. TWAIM is an iterative systems thinking approach to planning, collecting landscape and land use information and communicating systems understanding to stakeholders. Hydrologic pathways that link the physical, chemical and biological characteristics influence processes occurring in a watershed which drive stream health and ecological function. With better systems understanding and application by technical specialists, there is potential for improved stakeholder interaction and dialogue which could then enable better land use decisions. Issues of pollutant origin, transport, storage and hydraulic residence must be defined and communicated effectively to land managers within a watershed context to observe trends in water quality change. The TWAIM concept provides a logical framework for locally-led assessment and a means to communicate ecohydrologic systems understanding over time to the key land managers such that PMZs can be defined for BMP implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)590-603
Number of pages14
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2011

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2011 by the authors.


  • Common pool resources
  • Land-use
  • Non-point source
  • Priority management zones
  • Watershed management


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