Stakeholder engagement in public natural resource management

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The management of public natural resources can be challenging, especially in the face of diverse stakeholders with varied interests and concerns. In most cases, decision-makers lack sufficient data from which to assess the range, intensity, and convergence of community preferences. Traditional attempts to acquire such information from public meetings frequently are constrained by a format that too often permits a few individuals to monopolize or co-opt sessions for their own purposes or agendas. Such experiences in past public meetings subsequently drive community expectations for future meetings, frequently resulting in decreased attendance and a less representative participant base. Consequently, regulators or decision-makers can come to view public meetings as a regulatory obligation of high contentiousness and little utility that must be endured, while other community stakeholders adopt a cynical perspective that assumes final decisions already have been pre-determined. To help address these challenges, researchers at the University of Kentucky have developed an eight-step, multi-directional stakeholder engagement methodology that involves stakeholders at the very beginning of the decision process. The methodology incorporates both qualitative and quantitative methods drawing on principles from Community-Based Participatory Communication (CBPC) and Structured Public Involvement (SPI). CBPC uses interviews, focus groups, and projective techniques to identify varied community groups and to discover the value systems, risk perceptions, and preferences among these groups. SPI employs anonymous Audience Response Systems (ARS) in large-scale public meetings to identify democratic solutions to complex issues while resisting co-optation of the process by a single interest group. This paper describes the application of the methodology to a case study identifying acceptable nutrient management strategies for a watershed near Louisville, Kentucky. The paper will elucidate key insights derived from the application of the methodology, as well as make recommendations for application of the methodology to other problems involving stakeholder input into public decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2014
Event7th International Congress on Environmental Modelling and Software, iEMSs 2014 - San Diego, United States
Duration: Jun 15 2014Jun 19 2014


Conference7th International Congress on Environmental Modelling and Software, iEMSs 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego


  • Community based participatory communication
  • Engagement
  • Stakeholders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation


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