Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



Staggs, D.W., Burbach, M.E., Matkin, G.S., Burkhart-Kriesel, C., 2020, The Nebraska Water Leaders Academy Graduates’ Influence on Community Capitals and Community Capacity. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Conservation and Survey Division, Open File Report 209, 27 pp.




An overarching goal of the Nebraska Water Leaders Academy is to prepare a diverse group of Nebraskans from across the state to impact change in their communities by working together to solve wicked water problems. With 136 graduates from across Nebraska there is potential for graduates to effect change and impact their communities’ capitals (i.e., Built, Financial, Political, Social, Human, Cultural, and Natural). This study explored the impact of Academy graduates on their communities’ capitals and community capacity to prepare for future challenges from the perspective of graduates and community members. Findings show that Academy graduates are impacting their communities by actively collaborating with community members, developing an extensive network of personal and professional contacts within and outside the community, building trust and inclusiveness, initiating formal and informal water-related educational activities, advocating for natural resource protection, pursuing innovative and creative solutions to community problems, championing development of local recreational assets, demonstrating fiscal responsibility, and acquiring financial resources for water related projects.