In April of 1992, the Grande Ronde Basin was selected by the Northwest Power Planning Council as the model watershed project in Oregon. This selection was reviewed and agreed upon by the Strategic Water Management Group and certified by the Office of the Governor.
A Board of Directors, composed of local representatives and agency personnel involved with the multiple uses of natural resources within the basin, was formed to coordinate policy for the development, implementation, monitoring, and maintenance of the Grande Ronde Model Watershed (GRMW). The GRMW has also been confirmed by the Union and Wallowa County courts. An executive director was appointed by the board to begin implementation of the Grande Ronde Model Watershed following guidelines set by the board.
The Model Watershed is to serve as an example for the establishment of watershed management partnerships among local residents, state and federal agency staffs, and public interest groups concerned with the management of a particular watershed. The central strategy of the approach is based upon the belief that a locally based effort to improve coordination, integration and implementation of existing local, state, and federal programs can effectively protect, enhance, and restore a regional watershed area.