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Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Pp. 046-050 in Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Environmental Regulations–II Proceedings of the 8-12 November 2003 Conference (Albuquerque, New Mexico USA), Publication Date 8 November 2003.  .(doi:10.13031/2013.15537)
Authors:   K. L. White, I. Chaubey, and T. A. Costello
Keywords:   Watershed management, Stakeholder, Management practices

Currently, nonpoint source pollution management practices are primarily unregulated, but voluntary practices on agricultural production land in Arkansas are encouraged by the poultry industry and state/federal agencies. This voluntary system places stakeholders (or landowners) in a role of primary influence on implementation of management practices for water quality protection. We conducted a project in a small watershed, approximately 3,240 ha, in Northwest Arkansas as a follow-up to a study conducted approximately 10 years earlier in which landowners were encouraged with financial subsidies to implement management practices to abate nutrient nonpoint source pollutants. The project was initiated to evaluate the success and failures of the 1990 implemented management practices, the end goal being to incorporate this information into a contemporary watershed management plan. To accomplish this, landowner involvement was crucial, therefore multiple methods were used to involve stakeholders at different levels: one-on-one interviews, news articles, fact sheets, stakeholder meetings, and field days. The objective of this paper is to discuss the success and failures associated with different methods for gaining stakeholder participation and provide guidelines for future stakeholder dependent projects. Through one-on-one interviews, stakeholders provided information on their experiences with various management practices. In the process, additional knowledge was gained that improved our understanding of problems faced by landowners, of local issues we had not considered, and of methods for better stakeholder communication. This information helped us determine management needs that were watershed specific. Results from this study emphasize the inability of generalized standards or management practices to successfully address nonpoint source pollution in a watershed. It was readily apparent that stakeholders wanted to be involved, but they responded best to individual contact and inquiry rather than large public meetings or mass mail outs. By communicating personally with stakeholders, we were able to help close the loop on the education-subsidy scheme for encouraging landowners to implement voluntary nutrient management practices.

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