Financing Nature for Water Security: A How-to Guide to Develop Watershed Investment Programs


Watershed Investment Programs (WIPs) are initiatives designed to deliver ecosystem services by investing in the protection and restoration of nature via a defined portfolio of NbS interventions within a specified service area. This includes NbS interventions such as forest management, reforestation, regenerative agricultural and ranching practices, wetland and floodplain restoration, and invasive plant management.

The Guide moves the reader through each phase of the Watershed Investment Program development lifecycle with the aim of understanding:

  • The purpose of each phase
  • Questions that should be addressed by phase conclusion
  • Activities and outputs that can help answer these questions, and
  • Key transition milestones that are foundational before moving onto the next phase in the program development lifecycle

Within each phase the Guide groups similar bodies of work into five workstreams - stakeholder engagement, science, financing, governance and implementation. These workstreams are followed by a section on how to understand and plan for long-term impact and quantify outcomes at each stage.

The How-to Guide is designed to meet the needs of practitioners and investors across a variety of sectors who may wish to improve biodiversity, climate and water security outcomes by employing nature-based solutions. The Guide has been written with this diversity in mind.

The Nature Conservancy
Publication Date
Thursday, 30 June 2022
Applicable location
Soil and water conservation
Forest conservation and management
Forest landscape restoration
Learning materials