Information sharing with residents in dam removal: questioning the institutional framework in France and in the USA.

Authors: Ludovic Drapier*, Laboratoire de Géographie Physique - Université Paris Est-Créteil, Lespez Laurent, Laboratoire de Géographie Physique - Université Paris-Est Créteil, Germaine Marie-Anne, Laboratoire LAVUE - Université Paris Nanterre
Topics: Environment
Keywords: dam removal, France, USA , communication, residents
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Grand Chenier, Sheraton, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In the field of river restoration, dam removal has become one of the most emblematic used by river managers. Removing obstacles in rivers generates important changes in the biology of the river and is often accompanied by evolutions of the local landscape. We conducted surveys with residents living close to 6 removed dams in the north western part of France (Orne river) and in the USA (Musconetcong river, New Jersey and Wood-Pawcatuck river, Rhode Island). The survey aimed at better understanding how residents perceive those projects that change their daily environment. We were especially interested in the communication means used by managers towards residents and want to evaluate if the removal has been an opportunity for project managers to share information and knowledge about the river. We also look at the kind of information that had an impact on the perception of the removal by residents in a positive or negative way. Results of the survey show differences between the cases leading to question the context of each projects. Thanks to the comparison between French and north American projects and semi directed interviews with practitioners, we highlight differences in the opportunities created by regulatory frameworks to develop an educational approach around dam removal projects. We make some points on the need to expand the vision of dam removal beyond the ecological purposes and integrate more deeply residents in projects in order to recreate a bond and a sense of care between local people and rivers.

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