Regional planning efforts for natural resource management are often complicated by the sheer number and range of partners involved. Collaboration among these stakeholders has become of increasing importance over the past few decades. The Roaring Fork Watershed Collaborative (RFWC) evolved as a regional planning effort across three counties and five municipalities on the Western Slope of Colorado. The RFWC – Water Committee is a diverse set of stakeholders working to integrate the environmental, social and economic values of the region into a Watershed Plan. An increasing amount of water-intensive energy extraction, population growth and uncertainties surrounding climate change will likely place additional strain on already overallocated water resources in the Roaring Fork Watershed. The purpose of this report is to inform the RFWC – Water Committee about how other collaborative watershed partnerships have formed and organized. This research explores the history, organizational structure, challenges, activities and facilitating factors of twenty ecosystem management partnerships throughout the American West. The cases studied highlight the importance of initial activities such as joint fact finding and information sharing. These twenty partnerships also point to the benefits and challenges associated with involving a wide range of partners. Organizations tend to formalize their commitments to provide a sense of legitimacy, instill confidence in the collaborative process, and guide their actions. The RFWC – Water Committee was also interested in learning more about public awareness campaigns and other education initiatives. Interestingly, most of the twenty partnerships emphasized the integral role of public education and awareness in protecting, enhancing and restoring the watershed. In addition, the report also provides ten case studies of public awareness initiatives. Many of these initiatives underscore ways research can be used to design effective public awareness campaigns. Finally, the lessons from these twenty partnerships and ten public awareness initiatives are used to provide a set of recommendations that the RFWC – Water Committee might consider. While the report has been customized to the RFWC – Water Committee, many of the lessons and themes should be of interest to other nascent watershed partnerships.