It is increasingly apparent that for projects aiming to develop improved long-term sustainable management solutions stakeholder participation is required at the design, implementation and evaluation phases.
Rivers Trust as a coordinator will in cooperation with relevant beneficiaries provide a framework for ensuring a high level of stakeholder participation in all project phases. Key objectives to achieve this include;
• Develop an appreciation for the importance of stakeholder participation within each pilot and familiarization with appropriate participatory methods and approaches.
• Identify key stakeholders at pilot and project level and involve them in project activities.
• Develop a framework for both planning stakeholder participation and critically evaluating the success of each pilot and the project at involving stakeholders.
• Collate and disseminate information relating to the approaches taken throughout the project and the impact they may have had on developing “new thinking” and changes to management. The work package lead will have a coordinating role in many of these activities, but each beneficiary will have an ongoing active role in developing and executing their own activities as well as collating and reporting information to the wider project group.
Stakeholder involvement is a key aspect of the Topsoil project. At the pilot level, stakeholder involvement is critical both to ensure that the pilots are delivered as planned and that the results have sufficient influence on the future management of the sites.
All pilots have produced a strategy for stakeholder involvement, detailing the key stakeholders that need to be involved in the pilot and how they will be involved. Production of the strategies was supported by the Topsoil stakeholder involvement guidance produced earlier in the project and available to download from the project website.
Stakeholder involvement within the pilots has included attending planning meetings, co-designing trials and field investigations, validation of conceptual models, cooperation on data collection/provision and direct contribution to pilot delivery.
At the project level, stakeholders have actively participated in project meetings and workshops, providing expert knowledge and contributing to discussions on the key challenges of the Topsoil project.
Rivers Trust is responsible for Work package 3.