Delivering Integrated Catchment Management through the bottom-up approach: A critical analysis

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Resource or Project Abstract

Managing our water is essential to support life and protect our ecosystems. Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) is about bringing water issues, people, and organisations together at the right scale in order to achieve effective management solutions which benefit all stakeholders. It incorporates what legislation says we need to do (i.e. from the top down), with the aspirations of the community (i.e. from the bottom-up). It integrates environmental, economic and social issues within a catchment into a coherent management strategy. Expert guidance can help communities to participate in the development, and implementation of an agreed vision of sustainable land and water use for their catchment.


This research examines how the ICM approach can improve the interface between the land use planning system, water services delivery, and Water Framework Directive (WFD) implementation. The River Allow Catchment Management Group (RACMG), was examined as a real time practical example of bottom-up engagement with local communities and key stakeholders. Ten case studies from Ireland (Allow, Bantry Bay, Burren, Mulkear, Owenmore, Owenduff, Glenamoy, Lough Leane, Lough Melvin, Raised bog Conservation), and eight case studies from abroad (UK, Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada) were critically examined. Interviews were conducted with programme managers and key stakeholders. Problems, including gaps, barriers and constraints encountered in the implementation of an ICM programme are identified, and recommendations are made to help guide the management of a collaborative catchment group. Guidance for implementing collaborative processes has been produced, and the following key lessons have been identified.


First, adequate funding should be secured before undertaking collaborative ICM projects. Resources are required to commence the collaborative process, sustain the process in the long term, and most importantly, to implement the actions in the catchment management plan. Failure to implement the plan creates resentment within the community and will hinder engagement in the future. Second, the use of creative "hooks" to engage local stakeholders is critical to ensure a wide range of community interests are represented in the process. The most successful projects integrated both social and environmental science to meet community social needs. And third, the benefit of Statutory Authority led projects is the availability of resources and technical expertise. However, Statutory Authorities often struggle to engage with local communities? (outside of traditional stakeholders). An alternative is the use of perceived ?neutral brokers?, such as NGOs or River Trusts to lead the process. This model has met with considerable success overseas. However, the success of this model requires Statutory Authorities to engage and support the process. Having cooperation and predetermined governance structures in place for their involvement with future ICM projects is essential. The recent establishment of a National Water Framework Directive Office will be an important contributor in this regard, and it is expected that this unit will actively support ICM groups. However, it is unclear of how this will influence individual Statutory Authority involvement in ICM initiatives.

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Contact Information for This Resource

Mr. John Ballinger
IRD Duhallow
Project Scientist
Raptor LIFE, Newmarket, IRD Duhallow, Newmarket Co. Cork, Ireland
Telephone: 02960633
e-mail: john.ballinger@irdduhallow.com

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Att 1    ICM_Questionnaire_data.xlsx   (0.04 Mb)

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Author(s)Ballinger, J.
Title Of WebsiteSecure Archive For Environmental Research Data
Publication InformationDelivering Integrated Catchment Management through the bottom-up approach: A critical analysis
Name of OrganisationEnvironmental Protection Agency Ireland
Electronic Address or URL http://erc.epa.ie/safer/resource?id=a2fa2b0a-1cdd-11e6-ab63-005056ae0019
Unique Identifiera2fa2b0a-1cdd-11e6-ab63-005056ae0019
Date of AccessLast Updated on SAFER: 2017-09-26

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Ballinger, J.   "Delivering Integrated Catchment Management through the bottom-up approach: A critical analysis". Associated datasets and digitial information objects connected to this resource are available at: Secure Archive For Environmental Research Data (SAFER) managed by Environmental Protection Agency Ireland http://erc.epa.ie/safer/resource?id=a2fa2b0a-1cdd-11e6-ab63-005056ae0019 (Last Accessed: 2017-09-26)

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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL http://erc.epa.ie/safer/iso19115/display?isoID=3122
Resource KeywordsIntegrated Catchment Mangement, collaborative group, Water Framework Directive
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project Code2014-W-DS-23
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeEnvironmental Technologies
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Public-Open
Limitations on the use of this ResourceAny attached datasets, data files, or information objects can be downloaded for further use in scientific applications under the condition that the source is properly quoted and cited in published papers, journals, websites, presentations, books, etc. Before downloading, users must agree to the "Conditions of Download and Access" from SAFER-Data. These appear before download. Users of the data should also communicate with the original authors/owners of this resource if they are uncertain about any aspect of the data or information provided before further usage.
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 1
Project Start Date Friday 1st May 2015 (01-05-2015)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Friday 1st May 2015 (01-05-2015)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Wednesday 6th April 2016 (06-04-2016)
Published on SAFERWednesday 18th May 2016 (18-05-2016)
Date of Last EditWednesday 18th May 2016 at 11:14:14 (18-05-2016)
Datasets or Files Updated On Wednesday 18th May 2016 at 11:14:14 (18-05-2016)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
Ten case studies from Ireland (Allow, Bantry Bay, Burren, Mulkear, Owenmore, Owenduff, Glenamoy, Lough Leane, Lough Melvin, Raised bog Conservation), and eight case studies from abroad (UK, Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada) were critically examined.

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

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Lineage information about this project or dataset
This research examines how the ICM approach can improve the interface between the land use planning system, water services delivery and WFD implementation. The River Allow Catchment Management Group (RACMG) was examined as a real time practical example of bottom-up engagement with local communities and key stakeholders. Ten case studies from Ireland (Allow, Bantry Bay, Burren, Mulkear, Owenmore, Owenduff, Glenamoy, Lough Leane, Lough Melvin, Raised bog Conservation), and eight case studies from abroad (UK, Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada) were critically examined. Interviews were conducted with programme managers and key stakeholders. Problems, including gaps, barriers and constraints encountered in the implementation of an ICM programme are identified, and recommendations are made to help guide the management of a collaborative catchment group. The information thus gathered contributes towards the wider roll out of ICM programmes in Ireland.
Supplementary Information
Others involved in this project include: Travis O'Doherty, IRD Duhallow, Newmarket, Co. Cork. Email: travisodoherty@gmail.com


Fran Igoe, IRD Duhallow, Newmarket, Co. Cork. Email: fran.igoe@gmail.com


Catherine Dalton, Department of Geography, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, South Circular Road
Ireland. Tel.: 00353-(0)-61 204931; E-mail: catherine.dalton@mic.ul.ie


Brendan O?Keeffe, Department of Geography, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, South Circular Road,
Limerick, Ireland. Tel.: 00353-(0)-61 204931; E-mail: Brendan.OKeeffe@mic.ul.ie


Bryan Riney, Cork County Council, EU Projects Office, Floor 2, Cork County Hall, South Circular Road, Cork
Ireland. Tel.: 00353-(0)-21 428 5153; E-mail: bryan.riney@corkcoco.ie


Primary data collected via questionnares. Data was collected via face-to face interviews, over the phone, or the questionnaire was filled in by the contributor in their own time. Interviews were semi-structured with a set of 37 questions. Data collected of qualitative type (attitude and opinion)


The report details a proposed guide for managing collaborative ICM processes in Ireland. This guide lists three stages in the process: Stage 1 - Establishing collaborative groups; Stage 2 - Running collaborative groups; and Stage 3 - Implementing collaborative group recommendations. At each stage recommendations are made on how to complete the process. The recommendations are based on the experience of IRD DuhallowLIFE (RACMG), the key learnings from the reviewed ICM projects (derived from twenty interviews/questionnaires), and theory from the literature.
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