Plan for A Healthy River

Boise River Enhancement Network Strategic Plan

A Healthy River for the Future

The Boise River Enhancement Network (BREN) envisions a healthy Boise River that enriches the quality of life in the Treasure Valley. A healthy Boise River has clean water for swimming and fishing, meets our desire for outdoor recreation and economic vitality, flows through natural and restored fish and wildlife habitat, provides drinking and irrigation water and inspires people to appreciate and care for it. This is the future BREN is working to create.

BREN’s recently adopted 5-Year Strategic Plan establishes exciting and ambitious priorities to achieve the vision of a healthy Boise River. The Plan’s two goals and six objectives reflect the group’s unique niche as  a connector and resource for all who share the vision of a healthy Boise River. BREN was founded to help the Boise River’s many stakeholders work effectively together. Nearly 30 actions are listed, all carefully selected to provide excellent service to stakeholders and strengthen BREN. Read the Strategic Planning Teamwork blog to learn about the process.

Mobilize, Advise, Educate 

Strategic goal #1 is to implement the Boise River Enhancement Plan (BREN 2015). The Enhancement Plan explains the unhealthy condition of the Boise River and describes opportunities and strategies for improvement.

Three objectives were adopted to meet goal #1 and build on BREN’s special strengths.

1) BREN will marshal the energy and expertise of citizen scientists, professionals and community members.

2) Local governments will be provided scientific information to assist in river-related decision making.

3) Community support for river enhancement will be increased through public education.

The strategic planning team identified the best actions BREN volunteers could take to implement the Enhancement Plan.  These actions engage community members and build the reach and influence of BREN. Emphasis is put on strengthening relationships with organizations, local governments, agencies, and people in the professional, academic and research communities.

Build on Success

BREN’s work at Charlie Woods Park in Eagle illustrates how the Enhancement Plan can be implemented this way.  BREN taught a class in 2019 on harvesting and planting willow stakes so more people would gain these skills and be prepared to lead or help with habitat enhancement. Professionals taught for free and the class was free. BREN asked local governments if they had a location in need of native willows. The City of Eagle Parks and Recreation replied they had just acquired property with two ponds with unhealthy riparian vegetation. The class members planted more than 100 willows at undeveloped Charlie Woods Park in early 2019 (photo below).

BREN has subsequently hosted six community stewardship days at Charlie Woods Park and provided hands-on education and experience to more than 100 community members as young as 5-years-old. BREN partnered with many non-profits and businesses to accomplish the work. Some volunteers developed advanced skills they’ve used for other enhancement projects. Professional volunteers have continuously advised. Thousands of people have learned about the enhancement project through BREN’s social media posts and blogs. BREN made presentations about the project to Eagle City Council and Eagle Parks and Pathways Commission. BREN will continue to work with Eagle and will advise them as they make plans for the development of the Park.  The willows planted in 2019 are now 12 feet tall.


An Organization For the Future

Strategic Goal #2 is to increase the capacity and sustainability of BREN.  As BREN nears its 10-year anniversary, group leaders decided to focus on updating internal structures and decision-making processes, increasing revenue, and building BREN’s capacity to provide expert technical advice to stakeholders.

Being engaged in too many projects tires out BREN’s volunteers, so criteria will be developed to evaluate enhancement project opportunities and determine the correct level of involvement.   A multi-disciplinary team of qualified experts is needed to accomplish Strategic Goal #1. A recruitment and  management system will be created.  Finally, more fundraising volunteers will be recruited and trained to ensure reliable funding for operations and special projects. BREN will grow stronger and more sustainable as more volunteers come on board.

Read the Strategic Plan

Strategic Planning Teamwork blog