Engaging Outside Help

As you have learned in the previous chapters, there are times when you may need to engage outside help for a project on your property. This outside help could be for design and engineering assistance, permitting assistance, or both. This chapter will discuss the different types of paid professional consultants and contractors, as well as how they would be able to help you. We will also discuss what to expect when working with these professionals and what questions to ask when selecting someone to hire. The Strategy Sheets in Chapter 3 discuss project-specific details you will want to know before talking to the consultant or contractor. With this knowledge, you will be more prepared and confident when you go into conversations with these professionals. It will also help both you and the professional to have a clear understanding of what the expectations are from both parties.

Whether you know of them or not, there are a number of outside resources already available to you. These resources range from educational workshops or handouts, to permitting assistance, to funding assistance, to design and installation of projects. The purpose of this chapter is to give you an overview of many of the resources that are currently available, as well as to show you how to go about engaging these resources. The chapter is organized into two categories: ‘Professional Consulting and Construction Services’ and the ‘Resources Directory’.

The second category of outside help discussed in this chapter is professional resources that don’t fit into the typical consulting industry. These include government agencies from the federal level down to local agencies, as well as watershed coalitions, university extension programs, nonprofit organizations and volunteer groups. These groups can help you with a variety of matters including permitting and funding assistance, plant and animal identification guides, weed management, education, legal issues such as water rights, construction of projects and emergency help during a flood. The ‘Resources Directory’┬áprovides a brief summary of how/when a landowner would be likely to engage with the organization, as well as website links.

When considering contacting outside help for a specific project, it is important to remember that the reason permits are required is to protect the stream corridor and the landowners living along it. In many cases, contacting the agency responsible for approving or denying a permit in advance is a smart idea. This is true both for projects that you know will need permits and projects that you are unsure of the permit requirements. By making the most use of these outside resources, you can learn more about your watershed and stream, meet neighbors and fellow stream stewards and be a good steward yourself.