The governance of watersheds has historically been administered by natural resource experts and often inaccessible to citizen stakeholders. Prolonged stresses on natural and administrative resources have prompted experts to engage non-governmental entities for decision-making. This research considers the role of citizen stakeholders in the management and governance of two Wisconsin watersheds--Geneva Lake which is in regulatory compliance, and Green Lake which is State impaired. Although many have advocated for deliberative democracy as a pathway towards natural resource sustainability, others remain skeptical because of tradeoffs between theoretical and practical benefits. An environmental lens on deliberative democracy narrows the focus of this analysis to relevant areas of watershed management inquiry. As such, Environmental Deliberative Democracy (EDD) serves as a conceptual synthesis of collaborative principles for analytical purposes. This research design compares the social, economic and political discourses in two Wisconsin watersheds with an established and similar case study in Lake Simcoe, Ontario. The central hypothesis posits that EDD community compatibility is enhanced by public trust in expert capacity and accessible watershed education resources. Further, self-assessments of reactive behaviors are expected to be a limiting factor for EDD compatibility. A mixed methodology is used to analyze quantitative data from citizen surveys and qualitative responses from elite-level interviews. Findings affirm that proactive watershed management frameworks are stronger without being prompted by environmental crises. Similarly, management programs created reactively with a specific agenda have a comparable structure with citizen involvement but have a limited capacity, scope, and potential for sustained success.
|Advisor:||Guehlstorf, Nicholas P.|
|Commitee:||Frey-Spurlock, Connie, Greenfield, Ben|
|School:||Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||MAI 81/2(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Environmental science, Environmental management, Political science|
|Keywords:||Citizen, Community, Democracy, Governance, Management, Watershed|
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