Public Participation in Watershed Management: An Evaluation of the Falls Lake Stakeholder Project
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Public participation has become an increasingly important component of effective watershed management over the last twenty years. Conducted by the North Carolina Division of Water Quality, the Falls Lake Stakeholder Project is a collaborative stakeholder process that includes interested parties in drafting a federally mandated Nutrient Management Strategy. The Falls Lake Stakeholder Project worked to improve the stakeholder process by responding to issues recognized in a prior North Carolina Division of Water Quality project, the Jordan Lake Stakeholder Project. This master’s project evaluated the Falls Lake Stakeholder Project based on a set of predetermined factors – substantive, procedural, and outcome – to allow for cross-case comparison. Data analyzed was gathered through archival research, stakeholder meeting observation, stakeholder surveys, and convener interviews. The stakeholder survey and convener interview contained questions about five procedural evaluative criteria, including process design, process fairness, process execution, technical support, and predicted outcomes. Results were based on fourteen returned stakeholder surveys and four convener interviews. Analysis of results indicated that technical support in the Falls Lake Stakeholder Project was the criterion with which stakeholders were least satisfied. Lessons learned from the Jordan Lake Stakeholder Project were applied in the Falls Lake Stakeholder Project and improved overall stakeholder experiences. Many of these aspects introduced in the process, including a technical advisory committee, subcommittees, and a wiki, may continue to be improved and applied to future North Carolina Division of Water Quality stakeholder processes.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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