Motivating Engagement in Voluntary Programs in Narragansett Bay and the Albemarle—Pamlico Estuary
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Chapter 4 described the unique attributes and challenges associated with formal top-down marine protected area initiatives that have regulatory teeth. This chapter shifts to the opposite end of the spectrum and examines top-down policy initiatives that possess no regulatory authority. These initiatives encourage and enable ecosystem-scale conservation through planning and capacity building. While simple in concept, these initiatives can be particularly challenging in practice. Top-down initiatives that are both voluntary and “not invented here” often languish in the face of indifference, competing priorities, and outright opposition. While some places welcome the opportunities inherent in having “the feds” convene a discussion of issues of shared concern, for others it is just one more thing on an already full plate. Hence these initiatives need to find ways to motivate engagement, instill ownership, and enable action.