Originally in 1989, the member programs of BASMAA all agreed to the terms of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that set policy on member's roles and responsibilities, and described the purpose and basic operations (e.g., voting, dues) of the organization. Each year BASMAA collected dues from its members for a "baseline" program. The baseline program provided for staff (Executive Director) and funded baseline projects (i.e., projects endorsed by all member storwater programs).
In addition, the BASMAA MOU provided a means for two or more of the member programs, or other organizations, to agree to contribute additional funds to do "tasks of regional benefit." This option allowed regional or subregional projects to go forward absent a unanimous endorsement by all of the member programs.
The MOU was replaced by a set of Bylaws when BASMAA decided to become a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2009. Although it is more formally an organization now than it was in the 1990s and 2000s, BASMAA essentially operates the same as it did back then.
Typically, the BASMAA Board and its committees meet monthly on a regular schedule to share information, discuss issues, and manage projects and programs. BASMAA does some projects and programs in-house using BASMAA staff and volunteer time from staff of the member stormwater programs. In other cases, BASMAA hires consultants to carry out new projects and programs.
Along with its member programs, BASMAA has been grappling with how to implement the stormwater regulations, which cut across typical departmental boundaries, programs, and lines of communication. To do so, these programs have used essentially a watershed approach involving as many stakeholders as possible and building consensus. Now BASMAA and some of its more mature NPDES permitted programs are expanding the envelope to deal with agencies, issues, and programs that are one step removed from those that they initially focused on. This model alliance that initially focused on urban stormwater is now:
- working with the regional air quality district in linking air quality to water quality.
- working to strengthen the integration of stormwater and wastewater.
- working with trade associations to develop practical industrial/commercial water quality programs.
- working with rural-focused agencies and programs in the upper watersheds.