Stakeholder involvement and perspectives

We provide a wide array of techniques to foster involvement and include perspectives of citizens and stakeholders to enhance planning, policy development, and decision-making. We offer expertise in social science research, as well as planning, visioning, facilitation, education, and interpretation. We offer interviews, surveys, and case studies.

Project spotlight

Ronceverte Eco-Community Plan (2013)

A multi-phased sustainable planning initiative may transform Ronceverte, West Virginia into one of the greenest small towns in rural Appalachia. Downstream Strategies and stakeholders at the Ronceverte Development Corporation’s (RDC) Main Street program developed the Ronceverte Eco-Community Plan to enhance local economic growth and environmental sustainability. Stakeholders established a framework for the plan based on three primary components—water, energy, and community—with a particular focus on stormwater management, energy efficiency, renewable energy development, and enhancing quality of life for residents.

Our services and skills

Social science research

  • Qualitative research such as interviews, focus groups, content analyses, and case studies
  • Quantitative social science research such as survey design, execution, and analyses
  • Local economic benefits analyses
  • Economic impact analyses

The Benefits of Acid Mine Drainage Remediation on the North Branch Potomac River (2010)


After decades of impairment, a successful program initiated by innovative staff at Maryland state agencies has transformed the North Branch Potomac River into a popular recreational river and a driver of local economic development. This remarkable improvement in water quality is the direct result of the installation of eight dosers since 1992, which add alkaline material to the river and its tributaries to treat acid mine drainage from abandoned coal mines. This study calculates the local economic benefits generated in these Maryland counties stemming from acid mine drainage remediation on the North Branch, so that policy makers can make informed decisions about future funding to ensure that this remediation continues. These benefits are calculated from a survey of North Branch anglers and boaters and include three types: local spending, the economic impacts of that spending, and the willingness-to-pay even more for recreational experiences.

Planning, visioning and facilitation

  • Community-based assessments
  • Visioning as a foundation for planning
  • Facilitation
  • Brownfields and community revitalization: asset-based community visioning
  • Outdoor recreation use and impact studies
  • Outdoor recreation management and visitor education
  • Watershed and natural resource planning
  • River management plans, including Wild and Scenic River studies
  • Land use planning, public land management, and NEPA
  • Project management
  • Development of strategic partnerships
  • Grant writing and project development
  • Conference planning
  • Community food and energy plans
  • Strategic energy and climate planning

Future of the Mountain: A Common Vision for the Jefferson County Blue Ridge Mountain Communities Area (2010)


This common vision document is a reflection of a facilitated public outreach process with the residents and stakeholders of Jefferson County Blue Ridge Mountain Communities. The process and document lay the foundation for a watershed plan for the Mountain.

Education and interpretation

  • Education and outreach in the classroom and field
  • Curricula development
  • Field and classroom training
  • Training and technical assistance for watershed organizations, permittees, and others

Pocohontas County Water Resource Management Plan Brochure (2011)


We create education and outreach materials, such as brochures, in collaboration with project stakeholders that serve to communicate science and policy to the general public. These materials communicate important concepts by highlighting planning activities, policy implications, and other socio-cultural information.