Abstract

Adaptive management strategies are required to manage multi-actor and multifunctional river landscapes. Such strategies need to be inclusive of perspectives of different stakeholders. We present a case study of a pilot engineering project in the Dutch river Waal, which drastically changed the appearance of the river landscape. We study perceptions of four stakeholder groups (residents, recreational anglers, recreational boaters and shipping professionals) regarding the impacts of this intervention on landscape values, including aesthetics, naturalness, biodiversity, flood safety and accessibility. Results show that stakeholders differ in which functions of the river landscape they found important and how they perceive the longitudinal dams to influence the landscape. They also differ in levels of place attachment and trust in the responsible authority. Shipping professionals stood out for their more negative evaluations of the dams compared to the other stakeholders, while especially residents demonstrated high levels of place identity and connection with nature. Residents also feel that the dams are improving flood risk safety in the area, and they positively evaluate knowledge and skills of Dutch water managers. These results provide water managers with much needed insights into landscape functions valued by different stakeholder groups and those perceived as most endangered by landscape interventions.

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Supplementary data