Saint Louis University

Water Resources Management

Yellowstone River BasinFaculty: Dr. Damon Hall

Many states have comprehensive plans for all water uses to anticipate future supply and demand. These state water plans must be periodically updated. Montana's state legislators wanted their 2015 plan revision to be driven by Montanans throughout their four river basins.

This project involved meaningfully engaging citizens in planning for the next 30 years of water resource issues in Montana's Yellowstone River Basin. Using previous research of the valley and literature on successful public participation efforts, the research team created a stakeholder engagement process that included 40 stakeholder meetings with more than 200 participants in five locations throughout the valley.

Citizen advisory council members administered regional focus groups to ensure that participants' comments were considered in the state planning process. This stakeholder engagement model has been used in other river basins in Montana and other states' water planning efforts.

The research was funded by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and conducted in collaboration with Montana State University-Billings and Rocky Mountain College.

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