Community-Based Watershed Management: Creating a Tool for Program Evaluation and Design

EPA Grant Number: F6C30837
Title: Community-Based Watershed Management: Creating a Tool for Program Evaluation and Design
Investigators: Lurie, Lisa
Institution: Duke University
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: September 1, 2006 through September 1, 2007
Project Amount: $111,172
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2006) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Economics and Decision Sciences , Fellowship - Environmental Decision Making


The objective of this project is to develop a framework for evaluating community-based watershed management programs as a tool for community organizers, program managers, and policy makers. The questions I will seek to answer are 1) what characterizes a “successful” community-based conservation program? 2) in what ways could environmental policy be enhanced to promote effective community initiatives?


This study will include three phases that will utilize both quantitative and qualitative research approaches. During the first phase, I will analyze the current literature of community-based environmental management case studies to develop a general framework for comparative case study analysis. I will establish a set of criteria for evaluating the relative successes and limitations of community-based initiatives, looking at aspects of context, process and outcomes. During the second phase, I will conduct a pilot case study of community-based management in the Albemarle watershed, North Carolina to which I will apply the evaluative criteria. Specifically, I will assess the participation of agricultural land owners in conservation planning and land use decision-making. Case study data will be collected through open-ended interviews of community members and project managers, landowner surveys, document review, and site visits. The final phase will consist of data analysis and dissemination of results. The developed evaluative criteria will be tested on the pilot case study and modified as appropriate.

Expected Results:

The criteria will be assembled into a manual to be used by community organizers, academics, managers, or policy makers in evaluating community-based watershed management initiatives and in designing new watershed management programs. The case study will also be added to the body of literature on the successes and limitations of community-based management of common-pool resources.

Supplemental Keywords:

Community-based approaches, watershed management, program evaluation, environmental policy, case study research, land use planning, conservation incentives, Albemarle watershed, North Carolina, participatory decision-making,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Water, Water & Watershed, Ecology and Ecosystems, Watersheds, alternative urbanization scenarios, valuation of watersheds, agricultural watershed, community-based research, decision making, conservation, community partnerships, watershed sustainablility

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final