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a research center of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at Indiana University Bloomington
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Portfolio for Rachel Fleishman

School / Program:
Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs
Public Administration PhD program
Major Fields: Environmental Policy and Development Policy
Research Areas:
Watershed management, collaborative management, inter-agency coordination and inter-governmental relations, citizen participation, environmental policy.
Dissertation Title:
How does collaborative governance work? Experience from Chesapeake Bay watershed management
Dissertation Committee:

  • Dr. Rosemary O’Leary (Chair, Maxwell School, Public Administration)
  • Dr. David Van Slyke (Maxwell School, Public Administration)
  • Dr. Sarah Pralle (Maxwell School, Political Science)
  • Dr. Peter Wilcoxen (Maxwell School, Public Administration)
  • Dr. Laura Lautz (SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry)

Current Dissertation Progress and Expected Defense Date:
Final interview data on the cases will be collected during spring semester 2011 and analysis will proceed through summer 2011.

Expected Defense Date: December 2011.

Dissertation Description:
My research explores the link between collaborative management of watersheds and water quality outcomes. Collaborative management has become increasingly important for many environmental issues, including habitat conservation, land-use planning, and watershed management. These require decision-making on a regional scale that involves multiple political jurisdictions, diverse stakeholder interests, and interlocking ecological relationships. Collaboration addresses this complexity through partnerships, resource-sharing, and enhanced communication and participation mechanisms.  

My research looks at the “value added” of collaboration. I focus on the management of non-point source pollution, where a lack of regulatory tools has encouraged collaborative approaches. I examine the role collaboration plays in achieving outputs closely associated with improved water quality, such as land conservation, environmentally-friendly land use, stormwater management, restoration, and installation of best management practices.  

The methodology consists of a multiple case study of localities within the Chesapeake Bay region. This region was chosen because of data availability, and for the wide variety of local watershed initiatives subject to similar opportunities and constraints under a Bay-wide restoration effort. Data collection consists of interviews with government officials, nonprofit leaders, citizens, and others that are working towards key water quality related outputs; document analysis; and direct observation of relevant meetings and events. Data analysis will be qualitative and descriptive, relying on in-depth case examination.

Rachel Fleishman