A question of perspective: opportunities for effective public engagement in watershed management planning in Manitoba
As governments increasingly support a collaborative management approach to address complex watershed issues, there is a growing interest in understanding how successfully these processes operate. A cornerstone of collaborative management is the inclusion of public input in the decision-making process. Exactly how and to what extent the public is included in decision making is often left to planning authorities. This study set out to determine if collaborative approaches to watershed management planning have incorporated effective public engagement. The components of effective public engagement processes as identified in public engagement literature were utilized as a diagnostic tool to assess public participation in the development of two watershed management plans in Manitoba, Canada. Recommendations for improving the effectiveness of public engagement and addressing barriers to broad public participation in watershed management are presented and discussed.