Watershed Partnerships in California and Washington: Final Report for the Watershed Partnerships Project
50 Pages Posted: 23 May 2013
Date Written: February 2002
This report documents the achievements of the Watershed Partnerships Project (WPP) at the University of California, Davis as of January 2002. Given the limitations of command-and-control regulation by federal and state bureaucracies, stakeholder-based planning and management has become an increasingly popular strategy nationwide for resolving local environmental conflicts. The primary goal of the WPP is to understand the factors affecting the ability of partnerships to resolve resource management controversies within the watershed and then to implement those decisions through restoration projects or other means. In the original proposal, we identified five related objectives, reprinted below.
1. To use established scientific methods — including explicit theoretical assumptions and intersubjectively-reliable methods of data acquisition and analysis — to improve our understanding of the factors affecting the ability of stakeholder negotiating processes to reach formal agreements and to implement those agreements.
2. To ascertain whether consensus-based negotiating processes have been more successful than other approaches in developing and implementing concrete projects. We also wish to explore their ability to achieve desired environmental and economic outcomes.
3. To compare the strengths and weaknesses of the three theoretical frameworks in explaining both the conditions under which stakeholder negotiations will be successful and their relative success in actually implementing restoration and monitoring projects. The three frameworks are (a) Elinor Ostrom’s Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework for the management of common property resources, (b) Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith’s Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) of policy change, and (c) a framework for understanding the role that social capital plays in solving collective action problems, based on the work of Robert Putnam, James Coleman, and others. We intend to look at the same phenomena through multiple theoretical lenses (Platt, 1964; Stinchcombe, 1968; Allison 1971).
4. To provide concrete guidance to agency managers about how they might assist local partnerships, and how to decide when to support partnerships and when to simply leave them alone. Collaborators responsible for allocating restoration and bond monies in California already use the UC Davis watershed groups and projects databases underlying this proposal, and plan to take advantage of our results to improve evaluation of future stakeholder-driven proposals.
5. To identify which watershed characteristics are most amenable to rehabilitation.
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