File:Lipsky 2010 whidbey stakeholder preferences.pdf

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Citation

Abstract (Extracted from Lipsky 2010; closed to editing)

The Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project (PSNERP) proposes strategic, Sound-wide shoreline restoration. PSNERP would change Puget Sound restoration from a small-scale, bottom-up approach to a large-scale, top-down one. I investigated PSNERP as a “nascent policy subsystem” per the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF). I elicited input from 12 PSNERP stakeholder categories in the Whidbey Sub-Basin region. I examined three questions:

  1. What are the overall values and preferences of Whidbey Sub-Basin stakeholders?
  2. How do Whidbey Sub-Basin stakeholders trade off priorities?
  3. Around what groups of shared values might coalitions of stakeholders form?

Findings can inform PSNERP’s restoration planning and future stakeholder involvement and outreach activities.

Using mixed methods, I spoke with 38 respondents. I used survey and interview data to identify respondents’ overall values and preferences, and to group respondents into potential coalitions. I used ranking exercises to understand how respondents trade off priorities.

Respondents’ overall values were:

  1. The environmental quality of the nearshore is poor
  2. It is worth investing in restoration
  3. Pollution is a major problem

Respondents’ overall preferences were:

  1. Manage impacts of stressors, rather than removing them
  2. Focus on wildlife habitat for multiple species
  3. Protection is more important than restoration

Respondents traded off private homes and shops to give high priority to natural habitat features. They gave high priority to water quality, ecosystem services and natural processes as objectives, and traded off preservation of commerce.

I identified five potential coalitions, based on respondents’ shared values about causes, severity, types and solutions of problems. I labeled these coalitions: No Government Intervention; Property Rights and Development; Private Land Stewardship; Protect Undeveloped Areas; and Large-Scale Restoration.

Overall, I found support for ACF hypotheses, in that potential coalitions were identifiable by shared values, but coalition members did not share preferences or demographics. I recommend that PSNERP focus on these values, and not stakeholder categories, in future outreach activities. I also recommend that PSNERP proceed with its proposed restoration approach, with two caveats:

  1. Conduct outreach about specific aspects of the program
  2. Give higher weight to sites with anticipated water quality and wildlife benefits

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