The Saco River watershed in the Northeastern USA provides vital ecosystem services such as farming, drinking water for over 250,000 people, recreational fishing, forestry, and habitat for endangered Atlantic salmon. Protecting watersheds is critical to any community but how do you get all the different and competing interests to work together to create a watershed protection plan that everyone supports and government will implement?
The Saco River watershed is big - 4411 sq. km - of forest and farmlands. It travels 219 km before it empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Its ecosystem is stressed by development pressures, dry years, and incomplete planning activities.
Community and government agency leaders asked Dr. Christine Feurt to form a watershed-scale collaborative group to better coordinate planning and management. Come learn about how Chris led this large group to develop the Saco River Watershed Protection Plan. Think about how you might use this approach!
Chris is a well-known and respected trainer and practitioner of an integrative approach called Collaborative Learning. Her seminar will demonstrate how the many different interests in the Saco River watershed in Maine, USA, collaborated to create a protection plan using Collaborative Learning.
Dr. Christine Feurt is the Coastal Training Program Coordinator for the Wells Estuarine Research Reserve and the Director of the Center for Sustainable Communities at the University of New England where she also teaches Environmental Communication. She is an interdisciplinary professional who uses innovative tools for environmental communication, stakeholder engagement, public participation, and collaborative problem solving. Her work bridges the gap between scientific research findings and the application of that research to inform policy and management.