Deceptively simple, highly effective – the Five Ps River Management Framework

In our Western society we place a high value on rational, logical thinking, often believing that the best decisions are those underpinned by science and technical reason. We know, however, that it is emotion that largely governs decision making. This means that for collaboration to occur and lead to great river restoration outcomes, we need to place our ‘rational’ thinking within the broader context of people’s lives.

The Five Ps:

By using a framework called the ‘Five Ps’ it is possible to incorporate the many different factors and experiences that impact upon a person working in river restoration.  It is a framework that can be applied at a number of different levels, from the individual through to an organisation.

The Five Ps stand for: Profit, Proof, People, Place and Promise and highlight the full range of factors that impact on natural resources management decision making.

  1. Profit – highlighting the multiple benefits that can be achieved through river restoration
  2. Proof – the role of science in providing confidence to act
  3. People – valuing the experience and knowledge we all bring, and sharing what we know
  4. Place – recognising and acknowledging our connection to country
  5. Promise – basing our relationships on trust, mutual respect and a discussion about expectations

RoCking the Five Ps:

Rivers of Carbon uses the Five Ps throughout all its projects, activities and events, as we believe that river restoration and management is as much a social, as an environmental issue.  If we fail to recognise the value of people and just focus on ‘fixing’ a problem with technical solutions, we will ultimately fail in our river restoration efforts.   This is because we need people to own and connect to our river restoration and management efforts so that the ‘fixes’ we propose can support the longer term behavioural and land-use change that we need for our riverine communities to survive and thrive.

Within the Five Ps are some simple steps for protecting and restoring rivers that we use to guide our discussions with landholders.  These steps are:

  1. Restore first, protect second
  2. Prioritise high recovery trajectory sites (best bang for buck)
  3. Connect to remnant vegetation
  4. Allow and accept that the river needs to move
  5. Remove stock, stabilise, revegetate and manage weeds
  6. Give nature time to heal, and trust in that process
  7. Seek support and inspiration from others

You can find out more about how we manage riparian zones for multiple benefits by following this link.

Use the Five Ps for yourself:

The infographic below explains each of the Five Ps in detail so that you can see how we use it in our day-to-day work and life.  You are very welcome to download the infographic and use it in your own work to promote collaborative action. Please share it with others, and adapt and modify it to suit your needs.