Making collaborative watershed management work: The confluence of state and regional initiatives

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Initiatives in the Neponset, Ipswich, and Sudbury-Assabet-Concord watersheds highlight how watershed-scale innovation in engaging nongovernment participants is influenced, but not dominated, by the statewide program, the Massachusetts Watershed Initiative. The presence or absence of three elements - external support, process, and issue - and the order in which they occur, shape the viability of collaborative watershed-scale management initiatives. External support includes providing personnel or funding from outside an initiative. Process is the interaction among individuals undertaking watershed-wide policy development and/or implementation. An issue is an attention-requiring concern, vital to a watershed, that can most effectively be addressed by a coordinated strategy among different parties. A process generated by an issue is sustainable and amenable to enhancement through external support. The contribution of external support is most apparent when outside assistance is provided after an issue has crystallized into clear problem needs that can be addressed through specific research projects or implementation activities. Process is central in shaping issues, utilizing external support, and generating management results. The outcomes of voluntary processes in the three watershed initiatives highlight how the evolution of the Massachusetts Watershed Initiative leads to, and depends upon, the development of watershed-scale initiatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-35
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Collaboration
  • Community councils
  • Participatory decision-making
  • Policy innovation
  • Water policy
  • Watershed management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Pollution


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