Objectives of public participation: Which actors should be involved in the decision making for river restorations?
Article first published online: 31 OCT 2007
Copyright 2007 by the American Geophysical Union.
Water Resources Research
Volume 43, Issue 10, October 2007
How to Cite
2007), Objectives of public participation: Which actors should be involved in the decision making for river restorations? Water Resour. Res., 43, W10438, doi:10.1029/2006WR005584., , and (
- Issue published online: 31 OCT 2007
- Article first published online: 31 OCT 2007
- Manuscript Accepted: 21 JUN 2007
- Manuscript Revised: 11 MAY 2007
- Manuscript Received: 3 OCT 2006
- public involvement;
- river restoration;
- stakeholder analysis/identification;
- social sustainability;
- decision making
 River restoration as a measure to improve both flood protection and ecological quality has become a common practice in river management. This new practice, however, has also become a source of conflicts arising from a neglect of the social aspects in river restoration projects. Therefore appropriate public involvement strategies have been recommended in recent years as a way of coping with these conflicts. However, an open question remains: Which stakeholders should be involved in the decision-making process? This, in turn, raises the question of the appropriate objectives of public participation. This study aims to answer these questions drawing on two case studies of Swiss river restoration projects and a related representative nationwide survey. Our findings suggest that public involvement should not be restricted to a small circle of influential stakeholder groups. As restoration projects have been found to have a substantial impact on the quality of life of the local population, avoiding conflicts is only one of several objectives of the involvement process. Including the wider public provides a special opportunity to promote social objectives, such as trust building and identification of people with their local environment.