Inspiring Community Action for Stormwater Management

Stormwater management requires not only technical solutions like the design and installation of
stormwater infrastructure, but also the commitment and action of people—residents, landowners,
property managers, business owners and local policy makers. Past research has identified several
barriers to engagement in clean water programs and stormwater management in particular, including
limited human-water connections both physically and psychologically, the lack of cultural relevance in
conventional water programs/projects, and not surprisingly, resources such as time and money.
Community-centered water programming requires an understanding of community capacities and
constraints to engagement, as well as key determinants for action including what inspires community
members and what social networks or community organizations are most influential. We aim to

1. Assess the capacity of municipalities across Minnesota to engage their communities in
stormwater management.
2. Examine what motivates residents, including racially and ethnically diverse residents in
Minnesota metropolitan areas, to engage in community issues such as stormwater
3. Explore the roles community-based organizations and local government officials play in inspiring
community action for stormwater management.

We will achieve these objectives through four activities: i) online survey of local government staff, ii)
mail survey of Minnesota residents, iii) onsite survey with racially and ethnically diverse community
members, and iv) focus groups with community-based organizations and local government staff. Project
findings will inform stormwater management and planning across Minnesota. Expected outcomes of this
project includes a comprehensive, social-science based framework of drivers and constraints to
community action related to stormwater management.

Final Project Report .pdf

Mid-project presentation .pdf

Project Staff: 

Sarah Roth, Emily Green, Amit Pradhananga, and Mae Davenport, Center for Changing Landscapes

Project Duration: 

January 1, 2019- April, 2021