Getting Community Buy-in for Stormwater Funding: A Four-Session Participatory Workshop: Participant Workbook
Twichell, J., K. Mulvaney, C. Hulet, J. Secunda, A. Leiby, AND M. Tenbrink. Getting Community Buy-in for Stormwater Funding: A Four-Session Participatory Workshop: Participant Workbook. U.S. EPA Office of Research and Development, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-18/213, 2019.
Reducing stormwater impacts such as pollution of water resources and flooding is one way in which EPA works to ensure clean and safe water and protect the environment. Controlling stormwater impacts can be complex and expensive. Many local governments are working to meet more stringent stormwater control requirements and protect their communities from stormwater impacts despite the challenges of limited budgets and personnel. Adopting dedicated and sustainable stormwater funding with public support can prove challenging to communities. EPA research has shown that quality stakeholder engagement is critical for increasing public involvement and buy-in for funding programs that are acceptable to the community. This Participant Workbook and its paired Facilitator Manual (EPA/600/R-18/214, in review) are technical support manuals for a four-session participatory workshop for municipal stormwater decision makers. These resources provide a technical skillset for undertaking appropriate stakeholder engagement and public outreach. The objective is that facilitators and municipal decision-makers use these tools to build regional and community-level capability for developing and implementing effective and appropriate stormwater management programs as well as funding for those programs. EPA evaluated the participatory workshop during two rounds of pilot sessions with 12 municipalities (11 in Massachusetts, 1 in New Hampshire) as well as a Trainers-in-Training program for facilitators from Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.
This Participant Workbook is a process tool for an agency or organization to implement a multi-session, participatory workshop for municipalities to engage their communities in the development of stormwater funding solutions. The Workbook is a paired resource with a Facilitator Manual (Twichell et al. 2018, EPA/600/R-18/214). The workshop was designed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Research and Development (ORD) Atlantic Ecology Division (AED) and New England Office (EPA Region 1) with input from the Consensus Building Institute. This project is part of EPA’s Safe and Sustainable Water Resources national research program in ORD, which aims to protect and sustain water resources via research in green and built water infrastructure, as well as increase understanding of community decision making for the use and financing of sustainable water infrastructure. In earlier research, EPA found that a lack of quality stakeholder engagement in stormwater funding and management is a key barrier to successful adoption of sustainable funding solutions in New England and elsewhere in the United States. Designed to meet a need for technical training on these topics, the workshop engages participants to apply a consensus-building approach to stormwater funding decisions. This approach reflects the best practices identified through past research in stakeholder engagement processes and decision making. In the four sessions, municipal staff are trained to use a set of well-established tools, techniques, and processes to develop community support for stormwater funding solutions in their towns. The process presented in this Workbook was piloted in two separate rounds of the workshop sessions, but the components of this workshop are modular and the series could be modified depending on the needs and resources of the implementing agency or organization.