Environmental Management

, 48:825

First online:

Who’s in Charge: Role Clarity in a Midwestern Watershed Group

  • Kristin FloressAffiliated withCollege of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point Email author 
  • , Linda Stalker ProkopyAffiliated withDepartment of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University
  • , Janet AyresAffiliated withDepartment of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University

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Studies of collaborative watershed groups show that effective leadership is an important factor for success. This research uses data from in-depth interviews and meeting observation to qualitatively examine leadership in a Midwestern collaborative watershed group operating with government funding. One major finding was a lack of role definition for volunteer steering-committee members. Lack of role clarity and decision-making processes led to confusion regarding project management authority among the group, paid project staff members, and agency personnel. Given the important role of government grants for funding projects to protect water quality, this study offers insight into leadership issues that groups with Clean Water Act Section 319 (h) funds may face and suggestions on how to resolve them.


Authority Collaboration Collaborative leadership Principal–agent problem Section 319(h) Watershed management Watershed groups