Foundational conditions enabling participatory river management in watersheds of two regulatorily disparate states: A mixed methods study

Mark E. Burbach, Weston M. Eaton, Stephanie M. Kennedy, Kathryn J. Brasier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Increasing complexity of river management is driving the need for more participatory approaches in which a wide range of stakeholders inform management actions. The foundational conditions of successful stakeholder engagement in participatory river management include the stakeholders' familiarity with, the trustworthiness of, shared vision with, and perceived competence of agencies involved in river management. We employ a convergent mixed-methods approach to gain insight into two key stakeholder groups' (agricultural producers and non-farm households) perceptions of foundational conditions of successful stakeholder engagement in participatory river management in watersheds of two regulatorily disparate states. Overall, ratings for familiarity were often contrary to ratings of the other three conditions. Contrary to previous research our findings suggest that familiarity does not necessarily lead to stakeholder perceived trustworthiness, shared vision, and competence of those involved in river management. These findings are important for participatory processes; for example, trust and shared vision without familiarity may inhibit the active involvement of diverse stakeholders in participatory processes that are needed for improving the management of complex riverine systems. Our findings suggest agencies and groups involved in river management prioritize developing stronger relationships with agricultural producers to improve on these foundational conditions. Agencies and groups involved in river management rated low on familiarity should consider campaigns to increase stakeholders' familiarity with them to leverage the generally high ratings on the other three foundational conditions. Future research should explore these contrary findings and their relationships to active involvement in participatory river management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalRiver Research and Applications
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • engagement
  • foundational conditions
  • human–river interactions
  • participatory management
  • river management
  • stakeholder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • General Environmental Science

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