Stakeholder values in decision support for river rehabilitation.
Hostmann, Markus; Borsuk, Mark; Reichert, Peter; Truffer, Bernhard
The decision making process in river rehabilitation is complex. It is characterized by multiple objectives, multiple stakeholders and a high uncertainty in the outcome. Multicriteria decision making approaches can offer helpful methods when faced with the problem of conflicting objectives and uncertain outcomes. However, there is a lack of tested methods to incorporate stakeholder values explicitly in decision making. The current study combines multi-attribute value theory (MAVT) with stakeholder classification to estimate the conflict potential for different rehabilitation alternatives at the Thur River in Switzerland. We elicited values from representatives of eight major stakeholder groups and classified the stakeholder groups based on their influence potential. The results indicate that such a combination of methods can help to identify potential conflicts and create alternatives that are likely to have a higher degree of consensus. In our case study, a potential consensus solution consisted of seeking to achieve a combination of different objectives, including improvement in ecological status and flood protection as well as preservation of agricultural activity. The proposed solution would not result in maximum gain for ecological status and flood protection, however river rehabilitation would still achieve major improvement compared to status quo, and conflict potential is estimated to be significantly lower in comparison to other alternatives.