Planning & Management

Oral

395231 - Everyone's water, everyone's work: engaging the community from day one for robust watershed management planning.

Wednesday, June 6
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: Greenway GH
Co-Authors: Claire Bleser, Chanhassen – Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek Watershed District; Peggy Knapp, St. Paul – Freshwater Society; Greg Williams, Minneapolis – Barr Engineering

Engaging the public in planning processes can sound like a daunting task. It may seem easier to make decisions first, and seek comments later, hoping for limited opposition. During the recent update of its watershed management plan, the Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek Watershed District – a local government unit tasked with managing water resources - chose a different path. The district invited the public to participate more deeply in the update process by developing a public and stakeholder engagement strategy early on. The goal was to allow residents and other stakeholders to directly influence the issues, strategies, and actions documented in the district’s plan. The process not only solicited information for the district to interpret at the start of plan development but provided ongoing communication for stakeholders to respond to district interpretation of their comments. The plan's water resource goals, and strategies for achieving them were established through a consensus-based process that considered the results of the district’s public engagement work. The result is a plan for managing community water resources that reflects community issues and needs. By seeking public buy-in early on, the district was able to build community justification into the plan itself and create a vision for the next ten years that leverages the potential for stakeholders to be essential partners in working toward protecting, managing, and restoring our water resources.

Michelle Jordan, MS

Community Outreach Coordinator
Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek Watershed District

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395231 - Everyone's water, everyone's work: engaging the community from day one for robust watershed management planning.



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