New publication on Collaboration along the Verde River

With a couple of my former graduate students, Anna Bettis and Gabrielle Blanchette, we have just published a case study on governance and management along the Verde River, through a collaboration of stakeholders known as the Verde Front.  Published in the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, the manuscript is entitled Enabling Regional Collaborative Governance for Sustainable Recreation on Public Lands:  The Verde Front and will be accessible online here shortly.

Here’s a map of the Verde River of Central Arizona:

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This project has taken a long time.  As many of you know, publishing case studies is often difficult, as the reviewers often question the generalizability of the study and want to know what’s the big deal.  Here, our focus was on how commonly studied factors for successful collaborations from past studies at local levels scale up to  the regional level. The Verde Front is a collection of groups and projects along the Verde River that partner together to better accomplish their collective goals at a regional level. Among the differences between this regional study and past local studies was the interesting hierarchical structure that the group developed.  Of course, hierarchy is a common approach to increasing scale and complexity and the group needed a facilitative leadership approach that built trust and legitimacy through power brokers within the sub-groups that was encouraged by their experienced facilitators.  The facilitators also spent much of their time on holding dispersed stakeholders accountable.  Through the hierarchical structure, the high levels of accountability, the effort to build social capital and trust, and the expert facilitation, the collective was able to think regionally, beyond the scale of each of their individual projects.

And here’s a photo showing the beauty of this river (courtesy of The Verde Independent):

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