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F3) Collaborative governance in floodplain management

Start: 04/2014
End: 04/2016
Status: Inactive

Contact details

Jan Fliervoet

Radboud University Nijmegen

A flooded floodplain of the river Waal in 2012, which also functions as a nature reserve (Source: Jan Fliervoet).

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Project output

Insights and recommendations concerning collaborative interactions in Dutch floodplain maintenance, to help improve future collaborative initiatives.


Current collaborative interactions between governmental and non-governmental actors with regard to the maintenance of multi-functional Dutch floodplain are complex. The challenge is to get a better understanding of the barriers and opportunities, by looking further into actors’ view on themselves and each other (e.g. on motives, roles, responsibilities, collaboration type and desired results).

Key goals: Fundamental understanding

Study area: A) location of the 'Waalweelde' program in The Netherlands, B) the specific locations of the fifteen municipalities (light gray) including the floodplain area (dark gray). Source: Figure 1 from Fliervoet et al (2016)

Innovative components

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.


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.

Application and findings

  • The analysis of the collaborations between flood protection and nature actors showed that both networks were heterogeneous and well-connected. Additionally, only a few ties existed between the flood protection group and the nature organizations.
  • 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

The insights and recommendations are to be taken into consideration to feed future discussion on collaborative floodplain maintenance.

Data-collection methods: Focus groups Interviews Questionnaires/ surveys

Key locations: Maas River (NL) Nederrijn-Lek River (NL) Waal River (NL)

Next steps

These insights are to be used in other projects that need to start thinking about the maintenance phase of river-floodplain projects

Last modified: 19/02/2019

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

Main researcher

Jan Fliervoet

Radboud University Nijmegen

Supervisory team

dr. Riyan van den Born

Radboud University Nijmegen

Prof.dr. Toine Smits

Radboud University Nijmegen

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.

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

A stakeholder’s evaluation of collaborative processes for maintaining multi-functional floodplains: a Dutch case study

30/01/2017 by Jan Fliervoet et al.

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From implementation towards maintenance: sustaining collaborative initiatives for integrated floodplain management in the Netherlands

this article explores how stakeholders shape collaborative initiatives aimed at maintaining multifunctional floodplains.

06/07/2016 by Jan Fliervoet et al.

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Contains: Publication open access

Analyzing Collaborative Governance Through Social Network Analysis: A Case Study of River Management Along the Waal River in The Netherlands

We charted the current interorganizational relationships between organizations involved in flood protection and nature management and explored the consequences of abolishing the central actor in these networks.

01/09/2015 by Jan Fliervoet et al.

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Contains: Dataset upon request

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.

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RiverCare meeting room


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About us

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