A flooded floodplain of the river Waal in 2012, which also functions as a nature reserve (Source: Jan Fliervoet).
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Insights and recommendations concerning collaborative interactions in Dutch floodplain maintenance, to help improve future collaborative initiatives.
The governance of maintaining multifunctional floodplains has become rather complex due to the diversity of actors and sectors involved, each with their own frames and stakes. In the context of integrated river basin management, maintenance is also complicated by long-term perspectives, changing actor configurations, fragmented properties and declining state budgets. Despite a broad recognition of the importance of collaboration, in practice it appears very difficult to give shape to collaborative governance.
Key goals: Collaborative Governance
Infographic of research, including study area, analyzing collaborative processes and social network analysis. The study area is on the location of the 'Waalweelde' program in The Netherlands. Source: Adapted from Figure 1 in Fliervoet et al (2016)
Most studies look into technical aspects of integrated river basin management, much less have focused on the social processes that are needed to sustain effective and integrated collaboration in floodplain maintenance. This project dove into the underlying visions, frames and relationships among stakeholders as follows:
- A framing analysis is used to explore the opportunities and barriers for collaborative governance;
- By using a social network analysis, collaborative relations are made visible;
- A joint maintenance approach is developed, which seeks a balance between top-down and bottom-up decision making, promotes flexible budgets and time limits, and emphasizes the importance of learning through debate-oriented processes.
For whom and where?
Policy makers, coordinators, advisors working in public /governmental organizations and consultancies in:
- Regions around the world where floodplain maintenance includes having multiple functions and (thereby) deal with multiple public and private actors;
- Dutch locations that where river interventions have been realized and are now turning to the maintenance phase.
- Any professional or researcher interested in the governance of river management in the Netherlands.
Data-collection methods: Focus groups Interviews Questionnaires/ surveys
Temporal scale: Project duration
Application and findings
By analyzing stakeholders frames with regard to maintaining multi-functional floodplains, we learned that:
- Stakeholders use diverse frames with regard to collaborative objectives;
- Despite well-connected networks within floodplain management, only a few collaborative relationships exist between organizations focusing on either flood protection or nature management goals.
- An integrated planning approach has not been incorporated into the maintenance strategies and programs, inter alia by the lack of an integrated vision of floodplain maintenance;
- To solve the tension between a desire for multi-stakeholder participation and the fragmented reality, we suggest to follow a joint maintenance approach in the current collaborative processes to maintain Dutch floodplains.
- The use of interactive tools, that focus on understanding locally based frames and enhance shared responsibility, are recommended to accelerate and support collaborative processes.
Status for day-to-day practice
This research illustrates the complexity of collaborative governance in maintaining Dutch floodplains and the need to increase dialogue between parties to understand each others frames and perspectives.
Key locations where this study took place.
Key locations: Rhine River (NL) Waal River (NL)
Spatial scale: River section
These insights are to be used in other projects that need to start thinking about the maintenance phase of river-floodplain projects. For example, a joint maintenance approach will be performed in the planning phase of redeveloping the floodplains of the Rivierklimaatpark IJsselpoort.
Last modified: 20/06/2019
Explore the contact details to get to know more about the researchers, the supervisory team and the organizations that contribute to this project.
Radboud University Nijmegen
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.
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.
From implementation towards maintenance: sustaining collaborative initiatives for integrated floodplain management in the Netherlands
Analyzing collaborative governance through Social Network Analysis
Take a look to the dissemination efforts and application experiences which are available in the news items and blogs.
Framing collaborative governance: Looking back and forward this PhD journey
12/03/2018 by Jan Fliervoet
First RiverCare PhD thesis. An interdisciplinary journey to understand the framing on the maintenance of Dutch floodplains.
PlanSmart + RiverCare = Smart River Symposium
In order to exchange experiences between the two projects, researchers of the German PlanSmart project and the Dutch RiverCare project, as well as invited guests met on the 19th and 20th of June 2018 in Hannover.
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