Background/Question/Methods Increasingly in published literature watersheds are being recognized and prioritized as appropriate spatial units by which both health and natural resources can be managed. While this idea, broadly speaking, is represented in both academic and grey literature, specific guidance on how to implement approaches that advance this sort of integration is limited. Bringing together an EcoHealth framework, Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), and community-engaged research methodologies present an interdisciplinary approach to doing so. The EcoHealth approach posits that human health and well-being are both dependent on ecosystems and are also critical outcomes of effective ecosystem management. IWRM is reliant on the premise that watersheds are both feasible and appropriate spatial units for managing ecosystems. Urban, low-income and communities of color are often not engaged in ecological research relating to urban water management in the context of human health. Conversely, ecologists and other researchers may not often think of residents of said communities as assets to their research teams. Long-standing community-led watershed stewardship and collaborative community-engaged research in urban watershed communities demonstrate that these approaches, when brought together, at the local level can contribute to enhanced environmental conditions and ecosystem health as well as improved human health and quality of life.
Results/Conclusions This presentation will describe the ongoing work of the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance and other community-based organizations in Atlanta, Georgia and beyond to advance urban watershed restoration using collaborative community-centered approaches. It will detail key lessons learned from multi-disciplinary, collaborative, and community-engaged efforts to advance equity in urban watershed communities and to support community stewardship of water and other natural resources in environmental justice communities. Finally, this presentation will also examine the process of forging authentic relationships; elevate the importance of pairing local community knowledge with traditional research methodologies; and argue that community-engaged research should become the norm for place-based, urban ecosystems research, particularly in an urban watershed management context.