Date of Award

Fall 2011

Project Type


Program or Major

Natural Resources

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Mimi L Becker


Recently, citizen initiated watershed management has seen a rise in popularity. Citizen watershed groups have been created across the country especially in New England. These groups advocate for protections and responsible watershed-wide management. Each watershed contains a certain set of unique ecological, social, regulatory and problem situations and therefore each watershed organization requires a full mapping process of the policy and social process as well as the ecological and problem situation before engaging the citizens. This research explores the Winnicut River watershed in southeastern New Hampshire. Covering three communities and representing a subwatershed of the Great Bay coastal watershed this watershed has important social and ecological importance but up until this study initiated had little or no citizen action.

This is a study in participatory action in citizen engaged watershed management and it uses a policy sciences approach to examine current social processes, problem orientation and regulatory framework. Employing a collaborative learning approach the study applies appropriate and relevant citizen outreach and engagement tools to establish the Winnicut River Watershed Coalition. The knowledge and experience gained from the examination and application of methods was used to evaluate and develop future recommendations for the Winnicut River Watershed Coalition.