Discussion

The collective literature review, Expert Model, and mental model interviews suggests lay stakeholders remain unaware of flood risk causes and measures that may be taken to mitigate or manage flood risk. This is despite recent flooding catastrophes. Several authors noted in the literature review provide suggestions to close this gap, many of which could greatly assist USACE and its partner government agencies in their flood risk management preparation process.

The literature review and Expert Model collectively stress the influence of stakeholder perceptions have on flood risk management desired outcomes as associated with USACE’s flood risk management goals. The Expert Model also suggests that individual mental models can be brought into alignment with those of experts in two general ways:

  • 1. Directly from improvements to USACE’s flood risk management process.
  • 2. Indirectly through improving the quality of public engagement.

In the direct option, USACE can promote initiatives to resolve differences between public understanding, perceptions of USACE’s flood risk management process, and realistic expectations of both the FRM process and flood risks. Likewise, the indirect option seeks to improve public involvement in the flood risk management process, particularly by improving flood risk education and participation.

Interview respondents noted USACE’s ongoing efforts to work collaboratively with external stakeholder groups, but also described shortcomings of this process due to money and manpower limitations. They also described efforts to improve internal communication and collaboration across USACE agencies. However, efforts to work with external partners also foster internal technical and operational problems. Even so, several respondents noted that internal communication and collaboration were in a good state, and any issues were due to individual working groups or individual personnel rather than a system-wide shortcoming. The primary noted limitation is a lack of resources to pursue these ends.

As USACE flood risk management is a continuously evolving topic with a variety of drivers, future work should continue to incorporate research that reviews various expert and lay stakeholder perceptions to improve collaboration and participation in the flood risk management process. The use of decision analysis and Mental Modeling methods may also help in utilizing various sources of information in literature, expert modeling, and additional interviews with lay and subject expert stakeholders. Additionally, more specific information regarding to how the various drivers in the flood risk management process could help to suggest future action and avenues for improvement by USACE in its efforts to involve the public in its flood- related projects.

 
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