Public deliberation about salmon restoration impacts: Differences in the input of citizens in different community roles

Charles C. Harris, Dennis R. Becker, Erik A. Nielsen, William J. Mclaughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


We conducted a deliberative participatory process for social impact assessment (SIA), where interactive, community-based forums (ICFs) gathered public input about community impacts of alternatives for salmon recovery in the Inland Northwest of the United States. After residents were provided information about alternatives and engaged in facilitated discussions, we elicited their understandings of community conditions and judgments of socio-economic impacts. The present analysis focuses on the proposition that citizens engaged in the ICF process who represented diverse roles, based on community domains such as business, health-care, and education, would significantly differ in their judgments about those socio-economic impacts. We collected data on 705 community residents in forums conducted in 27 communities across the Inland Northwest. Results affirm that differences in roles and associated lifestyles, ideologies, and political viewpoints were related to differences in judgments of community conditions and contentiousness of planning alternatives. Implications for the ICF process and its effectiveness for SIA, as well as for other kinds of participatory processes, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1450033
JournalJournal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 12 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful for the financial support from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Resources for the Future in Washington D.C. in the development and subsequent examination of the Interactive Community Forum methodology.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Imperial College Press.


  • Public involvement
  • collaborative decisionmaking
  • social impact assessment


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