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Designing regional-level stakeholder engagement processes: striving for good governance while meeting the challenges of scale

Pomeranz, Emily F., Decker, Daniel J.
Journal of environmental policy & planning 2018 v.20 no.4 pp. 403-418
decision making, deer, governance, models, stakeholders, state government, New York
Stakeholder engagement processes have sought to ensure that state government meets public trust and good governance obligations to citizens. As the expectations of stakeholders and state agencies change, and management focuses on landscape-level interventions, a change in the level at which agencies engage the public is needed. This involves tradeoffs, as different levels call for different engagement design and implementation considerations. To understand how these differences affect decision making, we examine a regional engagement model for deer management in New York that was piloted to replace a sub-regional model. We identify concerns with the old model, objectives for the redesigned model, and explain the logistical and good governance considerations that informed its design. We share our evaluation of the model's process and outcomes, including implications for program design and scale. Overall, despite the pilot model's attention to design components aimed at addressing potential barriers to regional engagement as well as limitations of the previous engagement model, the pilot did not meet many of its objectives, especially those related to representation, resulting in some of the same concerns associated with the model it was intended to enhance and replace. Implications of this for regional-level engagement efforts are discussed.