Jennifer M. Auger, Ph.D., is a 2023 graduate of the Ph.D. Program in Environmental Studies at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Jim Jordan, PhD, Committee Chair
  • Jim Gruber, PhD, Committee Member
  • Tom St. Clair, PhD, Committee Member


LSER, permitting, Q methodology, wetlands, large-scale ecosystem restoration

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This dissertation investigates the regulatory challenges faced by large-scale ecosystem restoration (LSER) projects by exploring the perspectives of practitioners and regulators. Focusing on the federal regulatory permitting process, the study aims to understand its impact on LSER projects and proposes the application of adaptive regulation for improvement. Employing Q methodology, participants expressed their views on 34 statements related to wetland permitting for LSER projects. Factor analysis revealed two distinct perspectives: Factor 1 emphasizes the reorganization of the permitting process within existing regulations, advocating for more documentation and structured processes. Factor 2 highlights the need for restructuring both the permitting process and current regulations, emphasizing ongoing monitoring and specialized processes for LSER projects. Results highlight the participants’ perceptions of the permitting process's effects on LSER projects and contribute valuable insights into the complexities of the process, offering implications for policy and practice. The research provides evidence supporting the negative impact of the current regulatory process on LSER projects and advocates for adaptive regulation implementation. This study contributes valuable insights, addressing a literature gap on adaptive regulation specific to wetland permitting for LSER projects, and employs a novel application of using Q-methodology in environmental permitting in the United States.


Jennifer M. Auger

ORCID Scholar ID# 0009-0001-2245-4797