Institute for Environmental Negotiation

Empowering communities to create shared solutions

Partner Reflection on Success of Collaborative Summit in Williamsburg

On Feb. 13–14, the Alliance [for the Chesapeake Bay] and its partners presented “A Collaborative Summit: Protecting Water Quality through Actions on Urban-Suburban Properties” in Williamsburg, VA. More than 200 people representing nonprofits; local, state and federal agencies; landscape and nursery businesses; and concerned citizens gathered to share resources and successes in stormwater management on residential properties. Through an open discussion forum, participants shared their insights on key topics such as reaching new audiences, long-term goals, funding incentives, developing technical guidance, innovative stormwater practices and building new partnerships. We also discussed how these efforts relate to the Bay’s total maximum daily load and the tracking and monitoring of its progress.

The audience was inspired by programs that already exist to engage homeowners providing food and habitat for wildlife, creating beauty, invoking a sense of place and protecting water quality at the same time. Inspiration led to creative thinking and idea-sharing as the summit participants divided themselves into one of three groups: Regulations, Funding & Accountability; Education, Training & Outreach; and Installation, Design & Maintenance to participate in an innovative conversation and listening process known as “Circle Conversations.”

These conversations provided an opportunity for people to really listen to each other’s perspectives. After each conversation, the facilitators led the audience through a process that allowed people to vote for the top three issues discussed, shaping the agenda for the second day and making it truly reflective of the greatest needs of the participants.

Click here to read full article: Stormwater forum leaves its participants more ‘riverwise’, Bay Journal