The historic Carpenter Creek & Bayou Texar watershed had become impaired from overdevelopment and sedimentation. We supported the Watershed Management Team with community engagement and stakeholder outreach to make the plan a success.
Citizens and stakeholders engaged in the planning process.
In projects funded at initial adoption of watershed management plan.
Community-approved and science-based improvements for the watershed.
Carpenter Creek, a historic waterway running through the heart of Pensacola, Florida, had become impacted by development and sedimentation, creating water quality and erosion problems along the creek and in Bayou Texar, which empties into Pensacola Bay.
With help from a grant funded by BP Oil Spill fines, local officials undertook the creation of a Watershed Management Plan for Carpenter Creek & Bayou Texar. For that plan to succeed, stakeholders throughout the watershed needed to be engaged.
This waterway had a rich history in the community, and by virtue of its high visibility, there was already a core group of stakeholders, property owners, and advocates for the watershed. Our challenge was to bring these existing advocates together, along with the project team and the greater community, to develop this Watershed Management Plan.
We convened early engagement sessions with existing stakeholders and watershed advocates to collect information, introduce the project team, and get buy-in from these opinion leaders.
Then we began to reach out to members of the community who had not yet been involved. This included identifying residents and property owners along the creek and watershed, and engaging with other water advocacy and recreational groups.
With COVID shutdowns looming, we created a hybrid online and offline platform to solicit information about the waterway. We gathered public ideas and recommendations, curated that input with the project team’s expertise, and shared the resulting 15 proposed interventions with the community. Through direct mail, social media, online mapping, engagement tools, and in-person workshops, we built a groundswell of public awareness and support for restoring this watershed.
The multi-year campaign attracted 300+ advocates and stakeholders that participated in online and in-person workshops, town-hall meetings, and ultimately, supported the final adoption of the watershed management plan.
The plan included 15 recommended projects to improve the watershed, from specific stormwater upgrades to reshaping the creek at erosion hotspots. Even before the final adoption of the plan, 3 of the 15 projects had already been funded. We look forward to the continued restoration of this waterway.
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