Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Jeff Unsicker


The case study describes and examines The Potomac Conservancy’s advocacy for low impact stormwater management principles in the Montgomery County, Maryland “Road Code.” Low impact practices such as stormwater retention and Vegetated Integrated Management Practices (V-IMPs) can reduce the impact of stormwater runoff, which often carries pollution and sediment. Increased urbanization enhances this threat, contributing to impaired waters in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The Conservancy teamed with the Audubon Naturalist Society through the Stormwater Partners Network to ask local government to integrate low impact development (LID), or environmental site design (ESD), in a revised county road code.

The method of inquiry included review of primary documents, an interview with a Conservancy staff member, and an interview with an individual directly involved with the policy advocacy effort. Secondary literature provided the lenses through which to evaluate the effort. Through the evaluation it is determined that the resulting policy is too narrow, ruling out remedial work, seeking only to mitigate impact in new projects, and failing to address the design, building, and infrastructure practices that cause the issue. The new policy is, however, the direct result of a successful campaign. Through building an effective, local coalition, the Stormwater Partners Network positions itself as a strong advocate with the necessary understanding of local issues. These strengths are built on by developing a thorough understanding of the technical components of the issue and, even more importantly, of the targeted decision-makers. The coalition fails, however, to develop an understanding of the historical context of the technical components of the issue and fails to incorporate public outreach in its effort. Though the coalition effectively relies on its members as it completes the advocacy effort, additional resources could have been pooled from the community at large.


Civil and Environmental Engineering | Environmental Policy | Other Environmental Sciences | Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation | Policy History, Theory, and Methods


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