Master of Natural Resources Professional Papers

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  • 2012 North Carolina Energy Conservation Code: Environmental and Economic Impacts
    (2016) Janaro, Julia
    JANARO, JULIA Master of Natural Resources – Policy and Administration Technical Option. Environmental and Economic Impacts of the 2012 NC Energy Conservation Code in North Carolina Successful strategies for natural resources management are intended to connect long-term environmental solutions and benefits with present-day action, policies, and investments. While a Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) is required for any major environmental policy (Hsu & Loomis, 2002), it is also a means to address the interests of multiple stakeholders - and to ensure that the limited resources available for implementation are used as effectively as possible. The difficulty in a CBA for a building code analysis is determining the viewpoint. The perspective may reflect the first costs of the contractor, or the long-term homeowner to whom these costs are passed down. This exercise is especially relevant in addressing natural resources demand that is directly tied to the well-being of a population or its economy – for example, creating safe and comfortable buildings for life and work. The energy demand from the building sector is a substantial component of the national energy economy. Policy tools to manage, plan, and optimize efficiency for this demand are necessary for both our economic and environmental future. Connecting the increased energy efficiency of construction practices with reduced strain on energy and land resources is not a new concept. National initiatives developed in cooperation with energy utility companies have reported that improving energy efficiency “is one of the most constructive, cost-effective ways to address the challenges of high energy prices, energy security and independence, air pollution, and global climate change in the near future.” (National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency Vision, 2008). With the building sector consuming roughly 40% of U.S. energy consumption (US Energy Information Administration, 2015), there is tremendous opportunity for building energy policies to proactively address these growing issues. North Carolina population growth has been outpacing the national average since the 1940s. The most recent projections for continued increased growth, along with the urbanization trends of the current population, will have a tremendous effect on social and environmental resources. Demand for new housing units is expected to increase to 2.46 million new housing units by the year 2050 (UNC Carolina Population Center Carolina Demography, 2013). While the residential construction market is often seen as a positive harbinger of a state’s immediate economic health, there are long-term economic and environmental implications resulting from the energy demand associated with these structures. In North Carolina, new residential and commercial buildings are subject to compliance with the requirements of the 2012 North Carolina Energy Conservation Code (NCECC). The 2012 NCECC represents 30% energy improvement for commercial buildings and 15% energy improvement for residential buildings over the 2006 NCECC performance requirements. The NCECC is typically modeled after the most recent version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), written by the International Code Council. The 2012 NCECC was only adopted after a highly contentious and year-long debate between representatives from home-builder organizations and environmental groups. While code updates are not typically contested, the efficiency goals of the code document (with 30% energy efficiency requirements for residential construction) sparked concern from the construction industry. In fact, the code has been regularly contested by North Carolina legislators even after it went into effect. While disagreements over the policy may seem to pit economic interests against environmental ones, this project assesses whether energy performance requirements might effectively be positive from both perspectives. The goal of this project is to 1) Develop a cost-benefit analysis for individual homeowners of the actual first-cost and longterm savings implications of the NCECC, 2) Identify the broader environmental impact potential of these energy policies, and 3) use these findings to identify recommendations for the next updates to the Energy Conservation Code. Census data, economic projections, detailed energy code analysis, and energy payback data were all used to integrate the localized, state-wide, ecological, and economic concerns of North Carolina energy code policy. Ultimately, the optimal energy conservation policy for North Carolina (and the one that can be supported by the widest range of stakeholders) will need to balance all these scales and types of considerations. The intent of this project is view energy efficiency policy from a broader perspective, to increase the effectiveness of an existing policy resource, and to contribute to the ongoing dialogue concerning energy demand from the building sector. Energy efficiency policy is a pragmatic approach to natural resource demand that speaks to key aspects of North Carolina’s personal, economic, and environmental well-being. There is great potential for finding and achieving a common interest – and acceptable policy direction - amongst those stakeholders.
  • An interactive view of the Capital Area Greenway System
    (2020-03) Wing, Kristin
    The Capital Area Greenway system has become an integral part of Raleigh and has continued to help make the capital the “park with a city in it” that it has strived to be since the 1960s. Beginning with that vision back in 1968, the greenway system took off in 1972 after William L. Flournoy, Jr.’s thesis, “Report to the City Council on the Benefits, Potential, and Methodology of Establishing a Greenway System in Raleigh,” provided the framework for the system as it is today. Since then, the system has experienced periods of growth and support, as well as occasional slow downs and lack of interest, leading to more than 100 miles and 28 trails currently in use. That growth comes amid land use change and construction in and around the greenways. I used three story maps, working independently and as part of a collection, to explore the following: the history of the Capital Area Greenway system, what greenways are, and finally, how the land use has changed around the system of trails that crisscross the city and provide unique connections and recreation opportunities. The first story map, “A History of the Capital Area Greenway System”, uses items such as newspaper clippings, government documents and meeting minutes to explore the growth of the Capital Area Greenway system through time, beginning in the 1960s. In the second story map, “Greenways: What are they? Why should we build them? How are they built?”, users are given an overview of greenways in general, with the Raleigh system being used for context. This story map provides an introduction to greenways, such as the cost to build them and different design factors, including trail width and slope. For people interested in learning more about the specifics of greenway planning and design, a number of resources are linked within the story map. The third and final story map, “Capital Area Greenway System Land Use Changes,”, provides an introduction to the National Land Cover Database land use maps. The maps from 2001 and 2016 are used to illustrate land use changes that occur within a quarter mile of the greenway system. The developed land classes experienced the greatest growth in the fifteen year span, while all of the natural land classes, with the exception of open water, experienced losses in the same time period. These three story maps can be used independently or as part of a collection to explore many facets of the Capital Area Greenway system.
  • Analysis of stream restoration design approaches through man-made drained ponds, using the Stream Quantification Tool
    (2019-05-03) Manner, Catherine
    Manner, Catherine. Master of Natural Resources- Assessment and Analysis Technical Option. Title: Analysis of Stream Restoration Design Approaches through Man-Made Drained Ponds using, the Stream Quantification Tool Every stream restoration design is different from the rest, no two restoration projects are the same. No design method is proven the best method in all scenarios. In the mitigation/restoration field, more and more stream restoration projects are being completed to restore historical stream channels through drained man-made ponds. Yet, providers of mitigation have attempted many different ways to design this specific kind of stream. The field has yet to agree on the best technical design approach for designing a channel through a drained pond. A survey was conducted through use of Google Forums to assess an industry wide opinion concerning different design approaches through drained ponds. The questions were designed to identify people’s backgrounds in the industry and to gage if there place of work or experience level influenced there choice in preferred design approaches. In order to gain an understanding about which design approaches produced the most successful restoration projects one assessment method was used on all case study sites. The three (Site A, Site B, and Site C) stream restoration sites were assessed using the Stream Quantification Tool (SQT). Each of these three sites where stream restoration was conducted was located where a pond once existed. At each site a different design approach was used. The SQT was used at each site to determine which design approach provided the most functional uplift to the stream system. In North Carolina, the Stream Quantification Tool (SQT), created by Will Harman, is the latest assessment method to be developed. The SQT focuses on stream restoration and how it is necessary to understand how stream functions work together. The tool is built around function based parameters, which are interrelated and build upon each other. Assessing a stream’s function allows for a more successful stream restoration project.
  • Tourism as a Strategy for Reconciling Conservation and Development: A Case Study from a Protected Area of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest.
    (2018-08) Baptistella, Mariana
    ABSTRACT BAPTISTELLA VEDOVELLO, MARIANA. Master of Natural Resources, International Resources. Tourism as a Strategy for Reconciling Conservation and Development: A Case Study from a Protected Area of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Tourism in protected areas has been proposed as an aide to help balance conservation and local development. However, while tourism can generate employment and revenue, and strengthen the local infrastructure, many social, cultural and environmental problems can also occur. In 1994, the US Forest Service, researchers from North Carolina and the Brazilian NGO SPVS conducted an assessment of the ecotourism potential of the Atlantic Forest, focusing on the Guaraqueçaba Environmental Protected Area (APA). Using mixed methods, such as interviews and direct observation, a qualitative analysis was conducted to examine the evolution of tourism in the Guaraqueçaba APA over the 25 years, as well as its effectiveness as a strategy for environmental conservation and local economic development. By assessing the current tourism situation and comparing the recommendations made in 1994 with the recommendations suggested by the interviewees in the present study, it was observed that tourism did not have a very significant evolution in the Guaraqueçaba “sede”, Peças and Superagui Islands. However, the municipalities of Antonina and Paranaguá, also belonging to the Guaraqueçaba APA, are in a more advanced stage, including community-based tourism initiatives. Despite presenting some favorable results, it is still not possible to affirm that tourism could be Guaraqueçaba’s main livelihood. Although, there are some factors such as local social movements, the new public management of Guaraqueçaba, improvements in the transportation sector, and an increase in the demand for alternative tourism options that make it possible for the Guaraqueçaba APA’s population to achieve the desired sustainable development through tourism.
  • Mixed-severity Fires in the Southern Appalachians
    (2018-10-30) DellaRocco, Thomas
    DellaRocco, Thomas. Master of Natural Resources Assessment and Analysis Mixed-severity Fires in Southern Appalachians Warmer, drier conditions and extended growing seasons are intensifying forest disturbance regimes, particularly wildfire. In the southern Appalachians, historical wildfires were primarily low severity and promoted growth of understory vegetation. Fires also promoted the dominance of fire-tolerant species with thick bark in the overstory, such as oaks (Quercus spp.) and hickories (Carya spp.) over mesic, fire-sensitive species, such as maples (Acer rubrum L., Acer saccharum Marsh.), tulip-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera L.) and birch (Betula lenta L., Betula alleghaniensis Britton). Fire exclusion over the last century has contributed to a gradual shift toward mesic species dominance, which has likely altered the forest understory. Further, these mesophytic species might experience mortality in the overstory in the projected future conditions that include longer dry periods and more frequent and intense wildfires. In fall 2016, the southern Appalachians experienced exceptional drought and multiple wildfires, some of which were novel and included moderate and high severity burned areas. We investigated the impacts of fire severity on forest understory, seedling, and groundlayer composition. We measured the understory (woody species <5 cm dbh, >0.5 m tall), woody seedlings (<0.5 m tall), and ground-layer (herbaceous species), across burned watersheds within two large wildfire complexes and compared those responses to adjacent, unburned watersheds. Across the burned watersheds, we assigned three burn severity classes, based on tree and evergreen shrub mortality, forest floor depth, mineral soil exposure and bole scorch height. We did not find a positive effect of fire on sapling density or richness in any of the burn severity classes. However, oak saplings occurred in similar densities to maples in higher burn severity plots. Mountain laurel and rhododendron shrubs had lower densities in burned areas. Additionally, seedling densities were higher in burned areas, particularly mesophytic seedlings such as tulip-poplar and birch. The groundlayer cover and richness was lower in areas affected by higher severity fires.
  • Compensating Southern Landowners for Ecosystem Services: An Interview Series and Case Study
    (2018-07) Thomas, Katie
    Abstract Thomas, Katie. Master of Natural Resources, Economics and Management. Compensating Southern Landowners for Ecosystem Services: An Interview Series and Case Study Ecosystem services are benefits people experience from the use of natural land including water purification, timber, food production, and outdoor recreation. These benefits are frequently not included in the economic value of undeveloped land. This makes them seem less important to decision makers when compared to economic development, but people depend on ecosystem services for survival and well-being and these services are difficult to replace without significant expense once lost. As the global population continues to grow, tradeoffs between natural and manufactured services must be considered to best address the needs of society. One approach to protecting the supply of ecosystem services is payment to landowners for the ecosystem services the land provides in its natural state. However, navigation of market options can be complicated and some landowners sell their land for development simply because they do not have enough information concerning other, more environmentally centered options. This study sought to examine and document the relationship between property attributes and available opportunities for participation in carbon banking, wetland mitigation banking, conservation easements, and recreation using results from an interview series in order to assist landowners in their decision making process. Additionally, a case study of a large property near Wilmington, North Carolina was used to illustrate the complexities of participation in ecosystem service markets. Results showed rural location, large size, and private ownership are the most favored property characteristics, but objectives of the markets are varied enough to create opportunity for many kinds of properties to utilize at least one of the aforementioned markets.
  • Integrating active learning methods through environmental education in rural Peru
    (2017-12) Worsley, Ti'Era
    The purpose of this study was to observe if providing an alternative teaching method of environmental education would allow students in a rural northern Peruvian elementary school (I.E. 10020° - Zaña1, Lambayeque) to retain the information better. Currently teachers are using traditional styles that do not promote an active learning environment. This theory was tested by integrating active learning methods through environmental education, which included starting an environmental club and having students start community engaged projects such as a tree nursery and a compost pile. Results showed that students did retain information better through active learning methods and adopting new teaching styles shows promise in the future.
  • Exploratory Analysis of Landowner Application Characteristics and Reverse Auctions in the Market Based Conservation Initiative
    (2017-11-20) Perrin, Jessica
    Exploratory Analysis of Landowner Application Characteristics and Reverse Auctions in the Market Based Conservation Initiative By Jessica D. Perrin Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC Abstract New conservation programs are evolving to meet a growing need for the most efficient use of funds while satisfying the needs of the participating landowner and the organization funding the program. The Market Based Conservation Initiative is an eastern North Carolina pilot conservation program using a reverse auction process to meet the needs of the military and voluntary landowners. Regression models are used to explore whether characteristics listed in the landowner applications have a significant effect on the annual contract bid amount per acre and preferred contract length chosen by the landowner in the first bid round. Various statistical methods are used in this study to explore the difference in selected annual contract bid amount per acre and contract length between Phase 1: Bid Round 1 and Bid Round 2. This information can be used to shape future conservation programs or to target viable landowners for existing programs. Further exploration should delve into analyzing the effect of each significant landowner application characteristic on the response variables- annual contract bid amount per acre and contract length. Focus should also be placed on collecting more landowner data and holding subsequent bid rounds if possible to provide additional insight.
  • Year One, Survival and Growth Analysis of Containerized and Bareroot Shortleaf Pine Seedlings Planted in the Central Piedmont of North Carolina
    (2017-08) Olanin, Jonathan
    ABSTRACT This study analyzed the survival and growth of containerized versus bareroot shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata, Mill.) seedlings in the Piedmont of NC after one year. The study was an attempt to answer four questions. 1. Which stock type has higher survival? 2. Which stock type has greater growth in ground line diameter? 3. Which stock type has greater growth in height? 4. Which stock type has greater growth in volume? A review of experiments utilizing containerized and bareroot stock revealed that containerized seedlings have higher survival and growth. This experiment agrees with the results in the literature because containerized stock generally survived better and had greater growth in ground line diameter, height, and volume compared to bareroot stock. Survival of bareroot stock was 91.87% while containerized was 97.21%. Relative growth in ground line diameter was 0.696 for containerized and 0.577 for bareroot. Corresponding p value of the t test that was run was 0.0002. Relative height growth was 1.377 for containerized and 0.597 for bareroot. Corresponding p value of the t test was less than 0.0001. Relative volume growth was 6.761 for containerized and 3.347 for bareroot. Corresponding p value for that t test was less than 0.0001. Containerized stock survived better and had greater growth in ground line diameter, height, and volume compared to bareroot. This is most likely due to the fact that the root systems of containerized seedlings are protected within the plug. Because of the root systems being housed in the plug, there is less planting shock.
  • Centralized versus Decentralized Volunteer Management, with a Case Study of the North Carolina Botanical Garden
    (2017-06) McManus, Elaine
    Centralized versus Decentralized Volunteer Management, with a Case Study of the North Carolina Botanical Garden Abstract Nonprofits play an important role in American society and volunteers are critical to their success, because nonprofits are often severely underfunded. However, many nonprofits are not utilizing volunteers to their fullest potential because they do not have a formal management structure in place for their volunteers. Previous research has defined the core components of volunteer management and identified various options for integrating them into an organization, including centralized, decentralized, and hybrid. The focus of this paper is to provide insight into how a nonprofit should decide which integration method to use. To help answer this question, a survey of volunteer managers was conducted to understand how their volunteer management programs are organized and how these structures came to be utilized. Results were also examined to determine if any correlations exist between organizations using the same approach. There were three key findings in this research. First, centralized management was the most prevalent management approach. Second, two-thirds of volunteer managers varied their management approach by function to some degree. Third, there were no strong correlations between the volunteer management approach and the size of the organization, the percent of the volunteer manager’s job spent on volunteer management, the experience of the volunteer manager, or the size and scope of the volunteer program. It is unclear if these findings can be considered as best practices for other volunteer managers to adopt because almost half of respondents said that either their approach to volunteer management evolved this way over time or they were not sure how it came to be this way.
  • Analysis of Forest Development Program Impacts on North Carolina’s Economy in 2012
    (2017-05) Koesbandana, Sadharga
    KOESBANDANA, SADHARGA. Analysis of Forest Development Program Impacts on North Carolina’s Economy in 2012 (Under the direction of Dr. Frederick Cubbage, Dr. Erin Sills, and Dr. Robert Abt). In calendar year 2012, a total of $4.2 million was spent under the Forest Development Program (FDP) in North Carolina, including $1.6 million (39%) from the state government and $2.6 million in cost-share from private landowners. While it is likely that private landowners would have reforested some portion of their land even without FDP, we calculate the impact of the FDP on the state economy by assuming that the full $4.2 million was additional spending in the state due to the FDP. Based on an economic impact analysis in IMPLAN, combined FDP expenditures in 2012 increased total industry output in the state by about $12.6 million, and total value added by about $7.6 million. That is, spending under the FDP leveraged about twice as much in value added, and three times as much in industrial output. The FDP generated 133 direct jobs in North Carolina, and a total of 197 jobs overall in 2012. As a lower bound on the contribution of the FDP to the state economy, we calculated that just the $1.6 million in state spending on the program generated 76 jobs, $4.9 million in industrial output, and $3.0 million in value added. The output multiplier effect for program expenditures was 3.0 for the state, ranging from 2.4 to 3.0 across the NC Forest Service’s three administrative regions. Thus, every dollar spent through FDP contributes 1.4 to 2.0 times as much to the regional economies. The Piedmont received the most FDP funds in 2012, and benefited from even greater proportional regional economic impacts from the direct funds spent. However, on a per acre of private land which reforestation activities being completed under FDP in 2012, the industrial output and value added were very similar for all regions. Thus, the program is reasonably equitable on impacts across the three regions, even though the Piedmont region had the highest multiplier, but at the lowest cost per acre.
  • Prioritizing locations for managing forest disease in complex landscapes
    (2017-05) Klevtcova, Anna
    Prioritizing locations for managing forest disease in complex landscapes Anna V. Klevtcova a,b,d, Devon A. Gaydosa,b,d, Vaclav Petrasa,c,d, Ross K. Meentemeyera,b,d a Center for Geospatial Analytics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC b Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC c Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC Abstract Management of invasive plant pathogens in natural ecosystems is often challenging in complex landscapes comprised of significant social and ecological heterogeneity. Phytophthora ramorum is an example of an invasive pathogen, responsible for the emerging forest disease sudden oak death (SOD), killing millions trees along the Pacific Coast. The tanoak tree, one of the most vulnerable hosts in northern California is considered a valuable species for ecosystem functioning and local tribes’ culture. Disease outbreaks in this region are expected to cause substantial tree mortality and therefore a robust disease management plan is vital. However, expensive treatment costs and budget constraints in conjunction with a remote geographic area and a variety of legal considerations present obstacles for effective management. To help overcome these challenges and assist stakeholders and policy makers with strategic planning, we developed geospatial models to prioritize locations for disease management, using Humboldt County as a case study. We considered three control strategies currently utilized to manage SOD: (1) clear cutting, (2) mechanical tree removal, and (3) prescribed fire. We prioritized potential management areas based on 1) site accessibility (proximity to roads) and 2) site conditions, such as vegetation density and slope. Using multicriteria decision analysis we quantified different combinations of site factors and produced management suitability maps for each control strategy. This research provides a tool to evaluate where management option are most cost-effective and may serve as an initial step in SOD management planning.
  • Economic modeling of drinking water costs associated with aquatic biodiversity and water quality
    (2016-12) Lingley, Benjamin
    LINGLEY, BENJAMIN C. Economic Modeling of Drinking Water Costs Associated With Aquatic Biodiversity and Water Quality Clean surface water has far-reaching implications on human life as well as plant and aquatic species. Decreased water quality can diminish aquatic biodiversity as indicated by benthic macroinvertebrates which in turn affect the entire aquatic food web. Decreases in surface water quality generally result in a loss of desirable game and other aquatic species. There is a strong relationship between forest cover in a watershed and the corresponding water quality. Forests that are uphill in a watershed filter harmful contaminants as water flows through fibrous roots and significantly reduces soil erosion and sediment loading into water bodies as roots help hold soil in place. The measure of water quality in surface waters such as rivers, streams, lakes and reservoirs is often indicated by turbidity, which can be a direct result of sediments in water. This study investigates how surface water quality may affect treatment costs at drinking water treatment plants. Previous studies have indicated a positive relationship between forest cover in a watershed and treatment costs via decreased levels of turbidity and total organic carbon. The necessary data will be collected from various GIS databases including NatureServe, USGS GAP and other NLCD. A survey was developed which aims to gather data about treatment methods and chemical usage. By combining the positive relationship between a forested watershed, water quality, aquatic biodiversity and drinking water treatment costs, stakeholder interest can be maximized to achieve maximum return on conservation efforts.
  • A Qualitative Assessment of the Stakeholder Engagement Process: Development of the Falls Lake Nutrient Management Strategy Plan
    (2017-12) Gallagher, Martin Anthony
    Natural resource managers have increasingly recognized the importance of involving stakeholders in decisions about how to deal with complex environmental problems. Stakeholder participation can improve the outcomes of potentially contentious decision processes, but effective stakeholder engagement has proven difficult for resource management agencies. In this Master’s Project, I explore how the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ) has approached stakeholder engagement. The overarching goal of this study is to develop recommendations for how the agency can improve the outcomes of future stakeholder processes. The case selected for this qualitative, single-case study is a stakeholder process conducted by the Division of Water Quality (NC DWQ) as part of NC DEQ’s federally mandated development of a Nutrient Management Strategy for Falls Lake in central North Carolina. The research design addressed six research questions related to how NC DWQ and its partner organization interacted with stakeholders during the Falls Lake Stakeholder Process: 1. What was the purpose of conducting the stakeholder process? 2. What did the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ) expect to achieve through the stakeholder process? 3. Why did the NC DEQ select the Triangle J Council of Governments to manage the stakeholder process instead of managing it internally as they have done for other projects? 4. How were stakeholders selected and engaged in the process? 5. Did the stakeholder process achieve what the NC DEQ expected or wanted it to do? 6. How could the stakeholder process have been improved? Data was obtained through archival research and by interviews with 12 people who had been directly involved with the Falls Lake Stakeholder Project. Four of the interviewees were designated as internal stakeholders because they were involved with process planning and management, and the remaining interviewees were designated as external stakeholders because they attended meetings but were not involved with process planning and management. A standard theme-based content analysis approach was used to analyze the interviews. The framework for analysis centered on four steps identified in the literature as being especially useful for designing stakeholder involvement strategies, and four factors considered to be particularly important in determining the success of a stakeholder involvement process. This study found that the Falls Lake stakeholder process was less successful than it could have been. Several factors contributing to this outcome were identified. NC DWQ’s main goal in conducting the process was to gain buy-in for implementing the nutrient management rules being developed rather than to build consensus. The process managers did not have sufficient training and experience to design and conduct an effective stakeholder engagement process, and no guidelines were available within NC DEQ. This meant that little consideration was given to what type, if any, stakeholder process was appropriate to the decision situation. The process did not focus sufficiently on building trust among NC DWQ and the stakeholders, and the process facilitator was a stakeholder in the process rather than a neutral third party. Lack of funding and a hard deadline imposed by the legislature limited the scope and potential impact of the stakeholder process. Among the most important findings from the interviews was that the internal and external stakeholders had different views about how successful the Falls Lake Stakeholder Process had been. Internal stakeholders were largely satisfied with the outcomes of the process, noting in particular that no letters of objection had been received during the public comment period. In contrast, the external stakeholders generally were dissatisfied with the process and did not believe that the resulting rules were reasonable or achievable. The primary reason cited for this dissatisfaction was lack of input into development of the Falls Lake nutrient model. Arguably the most significant contribution of this study is recognition that NC DEQ has not explored and assessed stakeholder participation methods, and has not developed a clear policy and guidelines for its staff to follow. I make several recommendations for how future processes can be improved based on this study’s findings. The first step in designing a stakeholder process should be assessing the situation to determine what level of stakeholder involvement is appropriate. Sufficient time and funding needs to be allocated for stakeholder engagement; a neutral facilitator should be hired to set up and run this engagement process. Finally, greater agency-level support is required for improved stakeholder participation efforts; the metrics selected to assess success should emphasize specifically relevant determinative factors, and these metrics should be considered in performance reviews. I conclude that improved outcomes are possible given such agency-level support.