Preliminary Results of the CRA Member Survey

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by Russ Anderson, Telesto Solutions

This winter, many of you received and responded to a member’s survey initiated by the CRA board. The goal of the survey was to help evaluate how the CRA is fulfilling its mission and the needs of the members. Many thanks to those of you who took time to respond and provide helpful comments and feedback.

The survey focused on past activities (newsletter, conferences, website) and sought input on the future direction CRA might take in satisfying our mission. The general response indicates that members feel it is important to continue producing a newsletter and sponsoring a conference. Thirteen members responded that producing the newsletter was essential; fifteen viewed it as very important. Two respondents did not think that producing the newsletter was important, but nobody suggested discontinuing the newsletter. Many members felt that the newsletter was an important communication platform for members, and most felt that four issues per year was an appropriate frequency. A number of members suggested reducing the number of issues to two per year. Many members suggested newsletter topics that would be of service to them. These topics included:

  1. Hands-on information
  2. Grazing management
  3. Research summaries
  4. Review of current literature on an array of subjects
  5. Use of native plants in restoration
  6. Innovative practices and new technology in restoration, revegetation, and management
  7. Legislative issues
  8. Water quality and erosion control/stabilization techniques
  9. Regulatory programs and updates
  10. Monitoring methods

Look for articles in future issues of the green line that cover these and other suggested topics. A number of members volunteered to submit articles for the newsletter, and editors Jay Thompson and Bill Goosmann will contact those individuals to discuss how they can contribute.

Most respondents felt that sponsoring an annual conference was essential (12) or very important (12), and one felt that it was not very important. Five members supported reducing the frequency of conferences to every other year. Twenty-two respondents were willing to consider co-sponsoring a conference with another organization, while five were opposed to co-sponsoring. Many topics were suggested for upcoming conferences. Some of these topics include:

  1. Instream river work
  2. Restoration activities in urbanizing watersheds
  3. Research on wetland and riparian functions
  4. Water law, consumption, storage, and supply issues
  5. Grazing management in riparian zones
  6. Restoration of gravel mining sites
  7. Achieving restoration goals with preexisting natural riparian communities
  8. Restoration at the local level (or by stakeholder groups)

Most respondents felt that rotating the conference location throughout the state was effective in maintaining active conference participation. A number of members suggested holding the conference in a geographically central location, while others suggested near the larger population areas. Another thought was to hold the conference at a location that was appropriate for the conference topic. October was considered to be the best time of year to hold the conference, with suggestions for November, and more generally in the winter or spring. Many respondents indicated that holding it during the summer would be difficult for members who spend a large part of the summer working in the field, but it was noted that summer might be best for field trips and workshops. Respondents suggested a large number of organizations and/or groups CRA might consider co-sponsoring a conference or partnering with in future activities.

Most respondents (17) indicated they did not use the CRA website, although eight members pointed out they did use it. The number of respondents who thought it was an effective communication tool (5) slightly outnumbered those who did not think it was very effective (4), while four others didn’t know or were unsure. A majority of the comments about the website expressed a desire for more links, and keeping the website up-to-date. Several members suggested posting more technical information, a calendar of events, educational and conference information, and relevant job advertisements.

Many respondents expressed a desire to see CRA sponsor or co-sponsor workshops and field trips, with an emphasis towards educational and hands-on activities. Several suggested workshops on water-related computer applications, regulatory or grantwriting seminars, and regulatory or planning/management workshops. Other suggestions include sponsoring a CRA member to attend and/or present information at another watershed organization’s meeting/conference, explore establishing a paid internship/part time job for a student, and initiating a social activity. Six members expressed a willingness to organize an activity, thirteen indicated a willingness to attend, and three offered to speak or write about a particular subject.

Overall, the comments and feedback from the member’s survey was positive and supportive of the CRA and its mission, with constructive thoughts on how to improve CRA’s ability to fulfill these goals. In response to member’s feedback, the CRA board is contacting many of the organizations suggested by respondents to assess the feasibility of establishing a partnership for workshops, conferences, and other activities. Another action will be to follow up with those respondents who expressed a willingness to contribute an article to the green line. Again, many thanks go to those members who responded to survey. If you have not already completed the survey, please feel free to return it at any time, as we are still looking at the responses. We appreciate your feedback!