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F2) Public participation

Start: 04/2014
End: 12/2019
Status: Active

Contact details

Laura Verbrugge

University of Twente

Download here the summary poster related to this project.

Timeline and illustration of the construction of the longitudinal dams in the Waal. The four stakeholder groups surveyed in this study. (Source dam illustration: Rijkswaterstaat).

Project Output

Integrated approach for measuring landscape values that enable the exchange of values, preferences and knowledge between stakeholder groups.


Large-scale river interventions do not only change the morphological and ecological conditions in a river system but also affect the river landscape and how people appreciate or can use it. It can be challenging for river planners and managers to consider such people-place bonds, as these are usually not part of monitoring or assessment frameworks. Insights into local residents’ and recreationists’ landscape values, preferences and uses of the area are beneficial as they can inform participatory processes, support adaptive management, and enable the multiple uses of the river and floodplains. Public perceptions are especially relevant in large-scale restoration and for pilot projects which are implementing novel measures. On the right, a pilot project that changed the river landscape to improve conditions for ecology, recreation, navigation, and flood safety. River managers needed to better understand the perceptions of interested stakeholder groups to set up a participatory monitoring project.

Key goals: Collaborative Governance Integrated management

Integrated approach for measuring landscape values to support participatory monitoring and adaptive management. Communication was a vital aspect in the project.

Innovative components

Perceptions of the river landscape vary per stakeholder group and may also differ before and after interventions, such the longitudinal dams, are implemented. We developed an integrated approach for measuring place-based landscape values. By using a survey before and after the river intervention, we collected valuable information from local residents, shipping professionals, recreational fishermen and boaters to design a participatory fish monitoring project in the river Waal. Additional interviews with key stakeholders confirmed these general concerns about the potential effects of the dams and showed their incentives for participating in a monitoring program. Communication was important to enable the exchange of knowledge between the different stakeholder involved in the monitoring program. This included a monthly newsletter during the fishing season and a Facebook page. In addition, two brochures were developed; one to disseminate the survey results and one about the collaborative monitoring project in general (see news list for further details). Moreover, a case study comparison of five European research projects (including the Dutch case) provided more generalized findings about methods and approaches to integrate sense of place in river management and planning.

For whom and where?

  • River managers and consultancies who are involved in planning and / or evaluating large-scale flood measures or restoration projects;
  • Organization who are interested in adaptive management strategies and supporting participatory processes to involve local stakeholders.

Data-collection methods: Interviews Participatory monitoring Questionnaires/ surveys

Temporal scale: Project duration Seasonal measurements

Application development and findings

Our approach aimed to identify the expectations and concerns of participant  stakeholder groups regarding the impact of the longitudinal dams on their held landscape values and use of the area. The results are both quantitative (allowing for comparison between groups) and qualitative (in terms of how they influenced adaptive management). See outputs list  for further details:

  • We found that recreational anglers had more concerns and were more dependent on the area for recreational use compared to the other surveyed groups. For example, local residents mainly framed the intervention as a flood protection measure which was generally supported.
  • We further invited recreational fishermen to participate in the monitoring group ‘WaalSamen’ who is responsible for monitoring the intended effects of the longitudinal dams. This participatory monitoring project ran for over 3 years with increasing numbers of catches reported by volunteers.
  • An investigation of five case studies measuring sense of place among river residents highlighted the multitude of approaches that are available and can complement each other, for example by mapping special, meaningful or recreational places in the study area.

Status for day-to-day practice

Organizations can use the proposed approach and indicators to assess and monitor landscape values and preferences of local stakeholders. This can support river planning and adaptive management.

Location along the 10 km stretch of the river Waal (between Tiel and Ophelmert) in which the longitudinal dam pilot was implemented.

Spatial scale: River section

Key locations: Waal River (NL)

Next steps

Application of this approach in different river restoration and flood risk management projects will be useful to identify best practices.

Last updated: 10/02/2020

Explore the contact details to get to know more about the researchers, the supervisory team and the organizations that contribute to this project.

Main researchers

Laura Verbrugge

University of Twente

Wessel Ganzevoort

Radboud University Nijmegen

Supervisory team

dr. Riyan van den Born

Radboud University Nijmegen

dr. ir. Denie Augustijn

University of Twente

Contributing partners

As soon as available, explore the storyline to get to know more about the main methods or prototype tools that were developed within this project.

How to take public perceptions into account?

Identifying opportunities for participation in river management via a collaborative monitoring program.

Laura Verbrugge

University of Twente

Wessel Ganzevoort

Radboud University Nijmegen

View storyline

Explore the output details for available publications to get a glance of the innovative components and implications to practice as well as the links to supporting datasets.

Project outputs

Integrating sense of place in planning and management of multifunctional river landscapes

Comparison between different methods and approaches that were used in case studies from Spain, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Denmark.

06/06/2019 by Laura Verbrugge et al.

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Contains: Publication Publication open access

The role of place attachment in public perceptions of a re-landscaping intervention in the river Waal

Public perception research can tell you more about the importance of river landscapes as ‘space’ and ‘place’.

01/05/2018 by Laura Verbrugge et al.

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Contains: Dataset upon request

Exploring place attachment and visions of nature, of water-based recreationists

Major river interventions can greatly affect stakeholders and their connection to the river landscape. We show how recreationists’ perceptions of nature and landscape influence their expectations about a pilot intervention in the Waal river.

16/01/2018 by Wessel Ganzevoort et al.

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Contains: Dataset access

Implementing participatory monitoring in river management

Evaluating the potential implications of river interventions for local residents, recreational fishermen, boaters and shipping professionals: the perfect starting point for a participatory monitoring project!

15/06/2017 by Laura Verbrugge et al.

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Contains: Dataset upon request

Also applicable to this project

Users’ perspectives about the potential usefulness of online storylines to communicate river research to a multi-disciplinary audience

This was the first and exploratory step on our initiative of using storylines for science communication. Researchers and practitioners think that stories of science that include facts could be useful!

14/08/2018 by Juliette Cortes Arevalo et al.


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Contains: Publication open access

Take a look to the dissemination efforts and application experiences which are available in the news items and blogs.


Collaborative monitoring or longitudinal training dam effects in the Waal River

15/07/2018 by Prof. dr. S.J.M.H. Hulscher

RiverCare is part of 'WaalSamen', a collaborative group to measure and compare the effects of the longitudinal dams as an alternative to river groynes.

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All news


Brochures about the longitudinal training dams

19/03/2018 by Laura Verbrugge

Communication of project results is important to enable the exchange of knowledge between the different stakeholders affected by the river intervention in the case...

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Citizen Science newsletter editions of a participatory monitoring project

01/12/2017 by Laura Verbrugge

Monthly newsletters during the fishing season and a Facebook page update participants of the ongoing activities and results.

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All newsletters


WaalSamen videos


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RiverCare meeting room


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