Anne Marie Lausier
National Science Foundation Fellow Anne Marie Lausier discuses her research on the inclusion of stakeholder equity considerations in water management and decision-making.
Anne Marie Lausier:
Maine is really lucky to have just a rich array of ecosystems and then, therefore, the services that they provide that are then valued by communities. I research the decision-making processes around water allocation and how to more equitably include stakeholders that have been previously overlooked or marginalized into those processes.
Some of the most typically found stakeholders, the ones that are maybe more prioritized, would be things like big agriculture, industry, mining. In Maine, you might find blueberry growers, the big potato growers association. Recreation is another huge stakeholder.
Within the decision-making process, that is difficult because you have so many different stakeholders. They all have disparate views, but sometimes the process can be just as much about conflict avoidance as consensus building.
If you elevate the capacity of people to participate and to really share the views, then you can look for commonalities across people, where when you look at a more ecosystem-based view and you look at the wide array of services, it doesn’t have to be like you’re losing something as much as you’re gaining something.
Being able to contribute to that field, to hopefully strengthen the capacity of people to participate, hopefully be able to incorporate more of their values, will in the long term hopefully lead to increased human and environmental well-being.
It’s a very aspirational goal, but it’s something that my research, coupled with other research that’s being done in other fields, will hopefully contribute towards that ultimate goal.