When stakeholders choose: Process, knowledge, and motivation in water quality decisions

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Public participation in water quality planning for upper Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island (RI), has changed from hearings to a stakeholder approach. As a result of this innovation in process, knowledge about environmental science and about citizen preferences is more widely shared. High levels of stakeholder motivation to contribute, as evidenced by meeting attendance and participation, developed from this new distribution of power and knowledge. Synergisms among process, knowledge, and motivation contributed to a much more acceptable plan for enhancing water quality. In Narragansett Bay the solution adopted to improve water quality was to store and treat combined sewer overflows (CSOs). This stakeholders' plan requires a 2-year period of monitoring after the initial phase of building the system. Subsequent construction will complete the project as originally planned or revise it in an adaptive manner if more effective solutions than were originally envisioned become available. © 1999 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

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Society and Natural Resources