The Case for Grassroots Collaboration


The easiest way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.
- Captain Robert "Bob" Crocker

This website is intended to accompany our book, entitled The Case for Grassroots Collaboration: Social Capital and Ecosystem Restoration at the Local Level, published in 2013 by Lexington Press. The book examines three local grassroots environmental groups in the Hampton Roads, Virginia region. The groups were each founded by citizens, and each has become stewards for their local river. The groups use collaboration as their fundamental strategy, and each has been successful in improving the quality of the environment in the watershed.

The content on this website was collected by the authors, and is meant to provide the reader with a sense of the physical environment in these watersheds through the use of photographs (found on the Gallery page). There are also photographs of activities conducted by these groups, from water quality testing on the Nansemond River to oyster harvesting on the Lynnhaven River. Other photos highlight some of the many restoration projects undertaken by these groups. A final gallery, courtesy of Mr. Walter Priest, contains photographs of several restoration projects in the region. You’ll also find additional information about the book, and a page of links to our case study organizations and other related material. There is also a page where you may leave comments.

We hope you enjoy this website, and we welcome your feedback!

Praise for The Case for Grassroots Collaboration

“This is a richly detailed and carefully supported examination of an under-explored aspect of environmental protection: the role of grassroots organizations. This work is particularly valuable for the specific, well-documented characterizations of these organizations. The mix of history and interpretation, which constitute the heart of the book, is especially noteworthy. This mix provides the necessary scholarly framework within which the reader can place the concrete details that draw them deeply into the content. The Case for Grassroots Collaboration has the potential to add to the field’s knowledge of an important yet emerging topic.”

—Gerald Andrews Emison, Mississippi State University

“This work offers a fresh perspective on collaboration by focusing on citizen-based efforts to resolve complex problems. An in-depth examination of three grassroots environmental organizations reveals the power in voluntary collaboration as a catalyst for action.”

-Madeleine W. McNamara, University of New Orleans

“The Case for Grassroots Collaboration brings together the most current research on environmental collaboration, with a special focus on the potential of local, place-based initiatives, to make a significant difference in ecological restoration efforts, such as the Chesapeake bay. The book’s major theme, ‘restoring water quality one watershed at a time,’ richly illustrated by three in-depth case studies, inspires hope for those discouraged by the limited success of government-led, large-scale environmental collaboration. The message, supported by evidence from these case studies, is that small successes in improving water quality support gains on a larger scale. The rich detail in the case studies, framed by current literature, is valuable to academic researchers and accessible to citizens who are inspired by their own sense of place to make a difference.”

—Christine Reed, University of Nebraska–Omaha