Engaging a rural agricultural community in sustainability indicators and future scenario identification: case of San Luis Valley
- 110 Downloads
This paper describes a process of engagement with representative community stakeholders in a rural agricultural region—San Luis Valley (SLV) in southern Colorado—that helped identify locally relevant future sustainability scenarios to model and analyze using sustainability indicators. Over the course of two years, researchers and the community advisory board identified, deliberated, and, based on their input, conceptually framed future scenarios for modeling and analysis. The suggested scenarios (for modeling) that emerged through this engagement process were future solar energy development in the region, and changes to the cropping regime in the valley. SLV is a unique, geographically isolated agricultural region that has been looked at both by EPA and the state of Colorado as an ideal location for implementing sustainability measures. As a result of the present research, SLV now has the capacity to use local data to update region-specific greenhouse gas emissions and consumptive water use models. We find the community engagement process was successful both in terms of its usefulness in steering the research direction as well as its impact on community stakeholders involved in this project. Based on our experience, we recommend this community engagement approach to researchers seeking to improve the relevance and impact of region-specific sustainability analyses.
KeywordsCommunity engagement Sustainability Community advisory board San Luis Valley Scenarios
This research was funded by United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development. We would like to thank our Community Advisory Board for providing support and insights that made this work possible. The authors would also like to acknowledge useful discussions with Dr. Matthew Heberling and Dr. Matthew Hopton from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Special thanks to Dr. Matthew Hopton who provided detailed suggestions on preparing this manuscript.
- CDWR. (2015). Rules governing the withdrawal of groundwater in water division No. 3 (The Rio Grande Basin) and establishing Criteria for the beginning and end of the irrigation season in water division No. 3 for all irrigation water rights, Pub. L. No. 37–80–104 and 37–92–501, C.R.S (2015). Denver, CO. Retrieved from http://water.state.co.us/DWRIPub/Documents/FINAL Groundwater Rules for Division 3 September 23 2015 2.pdf.
- CDWR. (2015b). Statement of basis and purpose. Retrieved November 15, 2015 from http://water.state.co.us/groundwater/GWAdmin/UseAndMeasurement/Pages/RioGrandeRBRules.aspx.
- Colorado Geological Survey. (2016). Mountainous region aquifers. Retrieved September 12, 2016 from http://coloradogeologicalsurvey.org/water/groundwater-atlas/.
- DOE/BLM. (2012). Final programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) for solar energy development in six southwestern states: Chapter 10 Colorado proposed solar energy zones (Vol. 3). Bureau of Land Management & Department of Energy. Retrieved from http://solareis.anl.gov.
- Entz, C., Grossman, P., Taylor, & Teek. (2004). Senate bill 04-222. Alamosa, CO. Retrieved from http://water.state.co.us/DWRIPub/San Luis Valley Advisory Committee/Tab C - Senate Bill 04-222.pdf.
- Fraser, E. D. G., Dougill, A. J., Mabee, W. E., Reed, M., & McAlpine, P. (2006). Bottom up and top down: Analysis of participatory processes for sustainability indicator identification as a pathway to community empowerment and sustainable environmental management. Journal of Environmental Management, 78(2), 114–127. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2005.04.009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Freeman, R. E. (1984). Strategic management: A stakeholder approach. Boston: Pitman.Google Scholar
- Freire, P. (1982). Creating alternative research methods: Learning to do it by doing it. In B. Hall, A. Gillette, & R. Tandon (Eds.), Creating knowledge: A monopoly? (pp. 29–37). Khanpur, New Delhi: Society for Participatory Research in Asia.Google Scholar
- Gibson, M. et al. (2015). Rio Grande Basin implementation plan. Alamosa, CO. Retrieved from www.riograndewaterplan.com.
- Heberling, M. T., & Hopton, M. E. (2012). Introduction to the special collection of papers on the San Luis Basin sustainability metrics project: A methodology for evaluating regional sustainability. Journal of Environmental Management, 111, 272–278. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2012.03.055.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hopton, M. E., Cabezas, H., Campbell, D., Eason, T., Garmestani, A. S., Heberling, M. T., et al. (2010). Development of a multidisciplinary approach to assess regional sustainability. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology, 17(1), 48–56. doi: 10.1080/13504500903488297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Petrow, S., Franks, P., & Wolfred, T. R. (1990). Ending the HIV epidemic: Community strategies in disease prevention and health promotion. Santa Cruz, CA: Network Publications.Google Scholar
- Ramaswami, A., Main, D., Bernard, M., Chavez, A., Davis, A., Thomas, G., et al. (2014). Planning for low-carbon communities in U.S. cities: A participatory process model between academic institutions, local governments and communities in Colorado. Carbon Management, 2(4), 397–411. doi: 10.4155/cmt.11.34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Shaw, A., Sheppard, S., Burch, S., Flanders, D., Wiek, A., Carmichael, J., et al. (2009). Making local futures tangible—synthesizing, downscaling, and visualizing climate change scenarios for participatory capacity building. Global Environmental Change, 19, 447–463. doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2009.04.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Sheppard, S. R. J., Shaw, A., Flanders, D., Burch, S., Wiek, A., Carmichael, J., et al. (2011). Future visioning of local climate change: A framework for community engagement and planning with scenarios and visualisation. Futures, 43(4), 400–412. doi: 10.1016/j.futures.2011.01.009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- SLV Development Resources Group. (2013). Comprehensive economic development strategy (CEDS). Retrieved January 10, 2015 from http://www.slvdrg.org/2013ceds.php.
- SLVEC. (2012). SLV renewable energy master plan position paper. Alamosa, CO. Retrieved from http://www.slvec.org/images/stories/docs/renewable/01.13.12.Draft_Solar_Transmission_Alternatives.pdf.
- Trochim, W. M. K., & Cabrera, D. (2005). The complexity of concept mapping for policy analysis. Policy Analysis and Management, 7(1), 11–22.Google Scholar
- U.S. EPA. (2010). San Luis Basin sustainability metrics project: a methodology for evaluating regional sustainability. In M. T. Heberling & Hopton, M.E. (Eds.), Cincinnati, OH.Google Scholar
- Wilmsen, C. (2008). Partnerships for empowerment: Participatory research for community-based natural resource management. Sterling, VA, London: Earthscan.Google Scholar