Policy Sciences

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 185–204 | Cite as

One size does not fit all: Matching breadth of stakeholder participation to watershed group accomplishments

  • Tomas M. Koontz
  • Elizabeth Moore Johnson


The role of the public in US policy making has shifted substantially during the past several decades. This shift is particularly evident in environmental policy, where collaboration among multiple stakeholders is on the rise. Much of the literature on collaborative environmental management emphasizes the need for widespread community involvement, especially from private citizens. Many proponents of collaboration have argued that broad inclusion can lead to better environmental solutions while also establishing legitimacy, building social capital, and overcoming conflicts. Yet such broad inclusion may be costly in terms of time, energy, and resources, and it may not yield the desired results. Thus, a key question is how the breadth of public involvement is linked to collaborative group accomplishments. This study, using watershed groups in Ohio, demonstrates several links between group membership and results. Groups with a broader array of participants tend to excel in watershed plan creation, identifying/prioritizing issues, and group development and maintenance. In addition, groups comprised of a relatively balanced mix of governmental and non-governmental participants are more likely to list planning/research and group development and maintenance results than are groups comprised primarily of non-governmental participants. In contrast, groups with a narrower membership and groups that are composed primarily of non-governmental participants may focus more on pressuring government for policy change.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Arnstein, S. R. (1969). ‘A ladder of citizen participation’, American Institute of Planners Journal 35: 216–224.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bates, S., D. Getches, L. MacDonnell, and C. Wilkinson (1993). Searching Out the Headwaters: Change and Rediscovery in Western Water Policy.Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Beierle, T. C. (1999). ‘Using social goals to evaluate public participation in environmental decisions’, Policy Studies Review 16(3/4): 75–103.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Blahna, D. and S. Yonts-Shepard (1989). ‘Public involvement in resource planning: Toward bridging the gap between policy and implications’, Society and Natural Resources 2: 209–227.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bonnell, J. (2001). Group Processes and Ecosystem Based Management: An In-depth Qualitative Case Study of a Multi-stakeholder Watershed Management Group. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation. Columbus, The Ohio State University School of Natural Resources.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Brown, R. S. and K. Marshall (1996). ‘Ecosystem management in state govrnments’, Ecological Applications 6: 721–723.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Carpenter, S. L. and W. J. D. Kennedy (1988). Managing Public Disputes. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Carr, D., S. Selin and M. Schuett (1998). ‘Managing public forests: Understanding the role of collaborative planning’, Environmental Management 22: 767–776.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Chess, C., B. J. Hance and G. Gibson (2000). ‘Adaptive participation in watershed management’, Journal of Soil and Water Conservation (third quarter): 248–252.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Christensen, N. L., A. M. Bartuska, J. H. Brown, S. Carpenter, C. D'Antonio, R. Francis, J. F. Franklin, J. A. MacMahon, R. F. Noss, D. J. Parsons, C. H. Peterson, M. G. Turner and R. G. Woodmansee (1996). ‘The report of the Ecological Society of America Committee on the Scientific Basis for Ecosystem Management’, Ecological Applications 6: 665–691.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Conley, A. and A. Moote (2003). ‘Evaluating collaborative natural resource management’, Society and Natural Resources 16: 371–386.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Cortner, H. J. and M. A. Moote (1999). The Politics of Ecosystem Management. Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Coughlin, C. W., M. L. Hoben, D. W. Manskopf and S. W. Quesada (1999). A Systematic Assessment of Collaborative Resource Management Partnerships. Unpublished master's project. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan School of Natural Resources.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Dahl, R. A. (1970). After the Revolution? New Haven: Yale Univrsity Press.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Davis D. H. (1998). American Environmental Politics. Chicago: Nelson-Hall Publishers.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    deLeon, P. (1997). Democracy and the Policy Sciences. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    deLeon. P. (1988). Advice and Consent.New York: Russel Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Dilman, D. A. (2000). Mail and Internet Surveys: The Tailored Design Method (2nd ed.). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Duram, L. A. and K. G. Brown (1999). ‘Assessing public participation in U.S. watershed planning initiatives’, Society and Natural Resources 12: 455–467.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Elliott, M., B. Gray and R. J. Lewicki (2003). ‘Lessons learned about the framing and reframing of intractable environmental conflicts’, in R. J. Lewicki, B. Gray and M. Elliott, eds., Making Sense of Intractable Environmental Conflicts: Concepts and Cases. Washington, DC: Island Press, pp. 409–435.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Fiorino, D. (1991). ‘Dimensions of negotiated rulemaking: Practical constraints and theoretical impli-cations’, in S. S. Nagel and M. K. Mills, eds., Systematic Analysis in Dispute Resolution. New York: Quorum Books.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Fischer, F. (1993). ‘Citizen participation and the democratization of policy expertise: From theoretical inquiry to practical case’, Policy Sciences 26: 165–187.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Fowler, Floyd J. (1993). Survey Research Methods, 2nd ed. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Fung, A. and E. O. Wright (2001). ‘Deepening democracy: Innovations in empowered participatory governance’, Politics and Society 29: 5–41.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Gauna, E. (1998). ‘The enviornmental justice misfit: Public participation and the paradigm paradox’, Stanford Environmental Law Journal 17: 3–72.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Gray, B. (1989). Collaborating: Finding Common Ground for Multi-Party Problems. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Grumbine, R. E. (1994). ‘What is ecosystem management?’ Conservation Biology 8: 27–38.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Imperial, M. T. (1999). ‘Environmental governance in watersheds: Collaboration, public value and accountability’, A paper presented at the 21st Annual Research Conference of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, Washington DC, November.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    John, D. (1994). Civic Environmentalism: Alternatives to Regulation in States and Communities. Washington, D C: C Q Press.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Johnson, B. R. and R. Campbell (1999). ‘Ecology and participation in landscape-based planning within the Pacific Northwest’, Policy Studies Journal 27: 502–559.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Keiter, R. B. (1995). ‘Greater Yellowstone: Managing a charismatic system’, Natural Resources and Environmental Issues 3: 75–85.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Kellogg, W. A. (1998). ‘Adopting an ecosystem approach: Local variability in remedial action plan-ning’, Society and Natural Resources 11: 465–483.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Kemmis, D. (1990). Community and the Politics of Place. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Kenney, D. S. (1997). Resource Management at the Watershed Level: An Assessment of the Changing Federal Role in the Emerging Era of Community-Based Watershed Management. Boulder, CO: Natural Resources Law Center.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Krueger, R. A. (1994). Focus Groups: A Practical Guide for Applied Research 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Lasswell, H. D. (1951). ‘The policy orientation’, in D. Lerner and H. Lasswell, eds., The Policy Sciences. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, pp. 3–15.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Leach, W. D. (2002). ‘Surveying diverse stakeholder groups’, Society and Natural Resources 15: 641–649.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Leach, W. D. and N. W. Pelkey (2001). ‘Making watershed partnerships work: Areviewof the empirical literature’, Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management 127: 378–385.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Leach, W. D., N. W. Pelkey and P. A. Sabatier (2002). ‘Stakeholder partnerships as collaborative policymaking: Evaluation criteria applied to watershed management in California and Washington’, Journal of Public Analysis and Management 21: 645–670.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Lee, K. (1993). Compass and Gyroscope: Integrating Science and Politics for the Environment. Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Locke, L. F., S. J. Silverman and W. W. Spriduso (1998). Reading and Understanding Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Lynn, F. M. and G. J. Busenberg (1995). ‘Citizen advisory committees and environmental policy: What we know, what's left to discover’, Risk Analysis 15: 147–162.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Malone, C. R. (1998). ‘The Federal Ecosystem Management Initiative in the United States’, in J. Lemons, L. Westra and R. Goodland, eds., Ecological Sustainability and Integrity: Concepts and Approaches. Norwell, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 203–217.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Malone, C. R. (2000). ‘State governments, ecosystem and the Enlibra Doctrine in the US’, Ecological Economics 34: 9–17.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Miles, M. and A. M. Huberman (1994). Qualitative Data Analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, pp. 245–261.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Moore, E. A. and T. M. Koontz (2003). ‘A typology of collaborative watershed groups: Citizen-based, agency-based and mixed partnerships’, Society and Natural Resources 16: 451–460.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Moseley, C. (1999). New Ideas, Old Institutions: Environment, Community and State in the Pacific Northwest. Ph.D. Dissertation, Yale University.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Natural Resource Law Center, University of Colorado (2000). Watershed Questionnaire. http://www.colorado.edu/Law/NRLC/NRLC Watershed survey.html.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Norusis, M. J. (1998). SPSS 8.0 Guide to Data Analysis. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Ohio EPA (1997). A Guide to Developing Local Watershed Action Plans in Ohio. Columbus, OH. The State of Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Division of Surface Water.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    O'Leary, R., R. F. Durant, D. J. Fiorino and P. S. Weiland (1999). Managing for the Environment: Understanding the Legal, Organizational and Policy Challenges. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    O'Leary, R. and S. S. Raines (2001). ‘Lessons learned from two decades of alternative dispute resolution programs and processes at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’, Public Administration Review 61: 661–671.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Poncelet, E. C. (2001). ‘Personal transformation in multistakeholder environmental partnerships’Policy Sciences 34: 273–301.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Pritzker, D. M. and D. Dalton, eds. (1990). Negotiated Rulemaking Sourcebook. Administrative Conference of the United States. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Raccoon Creek Improvement Committee (1999). Raccoon Creek News 3(1)Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Rosenbaum, W. (2000). ‘Escaping the battered agency syndrome: EPA's gamble with regulatory reinvention’, in N. J. Vig and M. E. Kraft, eds., Environmental Policy: New Directions for the Twenty-first Century, Washington DC: CQ Press, pp. 165–189.Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Salant, P. and Dillman, D. A. (1994). How to Conduct Your Own Survey. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Sample, V. A. (1993). ‘A framework for public participation in natural resource decisionmaking’, Journal of Forestry (July): 22–27.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Selin, S. and D. Chavez (1995). ‘Developing a collaborative model for environmental planning and management’, Environmental Management 19: 189–195.Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Selin, S., M. Schuett and D. Carr (1997). ‘Has collaborative planning taken root in the national forests?’, Journal of Forestry (May): 25–28.Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Shindler, B. and J. Neburka (1997). ‘Public participation in forest planning: eight attributes of success’, Journal of Forestry 95: 17–19.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Slocombe, D. S. (1993). ‘Implementing ecosystem-based management: Development of theory, practice and research for planning and managing a region’, BioScience 43: 612–622.Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Smith, Z. (2004). The Environmental Policy Paradox (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    Smith Korfmacher, K. (1998). ‘Invisible successes, visible failures: Paradoxes of ecosystem management in the Albermarle-Pamlico Estuarine Study’, Coastal Zone Management 26: 191–212.Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Smith Korfmacher, K. (2000). ‘What's the point of partnering? Acase study of ecosystem management in the Darby Creek Watershed’, American Behavioral Scientist 44: 548–564.Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    Snow, D. (2001). ‘Coming Home: An introduction to collaborative conservation’ in P. Brick, D. Snow and S. Van de Wetering, eds., Across the Great Divide: Explorations in Collaborative Conservation and the American West, Washington, DC: Island Press, pp. 1–11.Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    Steelman, T. A. and J. Carmin. (2001). ‘Community based watershed remediation: Connecting orga-nizational resources to social and substantive outcomes’ in D. Rahm, ed., The Politics of Toxic Waste: 21st Century Challenges. Jefferson, NC: McFarland Publishers, pp. 145–178.Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    Steinzor, R. I. (2000). ‘The corruption of civic environmentalism’, Environmental Law Reporter 30: 10909–10921.Google Scholar
  69. 69.
    Stoker, R. P. (1989). ‘Aregime framework for implementation analysis: Cooperation and reconciliation of federalist imperatives’, Policy Studies Review 9: 29–49.Google Scholar
  70. 70.
    Thomas, C. W. (1999). ‘Linking public agencies with community-based watershed organizations: Lessons from California’, Policy Studies Journal 27: 544–564.Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) and USDC (US Department of Commerce) (2000). ‘Unified federal policy for a watershed approach to federal land and resource management’, Federal Register 65(202), October 18: 62566–62572. fGoogle Scholar
  72. 72.
    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (1995). An Ecosystem Approach to Fish and Wildlife Conservation.Google Scholar
  73. 73.
    U.S. General Accounting Office (1994). ‘Ecosystem management: Additional actions needed to adequately test a promising approach’, GAO/RCED-94-111. Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  74. 74.
    Wagle, U. (2000). ‘The policy science of democracy: The issues of methodology and citizen participation’, Policy Sciences 33: 207–223.Google Scholar
  75. 75.
    Weber, E. P. (1998). Pluralism by the Rules: Conflict and Cooperation in Environmental Regulation. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.Google Scholar
  76. 76.
    Wondelleck, J. M. and S. L. Yaffee (2000). Making Collaboration Work: Lessons from Innovation in Natural Resource Management.Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
  77. 77.
    Yaffee, S. L., A. F. Phillips, I. C. Frentz, P. W. Hardy, S. M. Maleki and B. E. Thorpe (1996). EcosystemManagement in the United States: An Assessment of Current Experience. Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tomas M. Koontz
    • 1
  • Elizabeth Moore Johnson
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Natural ResourcesThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusU.S.A
  2. 2.Great Lakes CommissionAnn ArborU.S.A

Personalised recommendations