Efficient and resilient governance of social–ecological systems
New institutions are critically needed to improve the resilience of social–ecological systems globally. Watershed management offers an important model due to its ability to govern mixed-ownership landscapes through common property regimes, translating national goals into local action. Here, I assess the efficacy of state watershed management institutions in the Pacific Northwest, based on their ability to support local watershed groups. I use document analysis to describe and compare state institutions in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and California. Results indicate that state institutional efficiency and resilience are the key factors determining watershed group activity and stability. The primary drivers of institutional efficiency and resilience were institutional unification, robust funding portfolios, low agency conflict, and strong support for economic multiplier effects, creative partnerships, and scholarly research. My findings elucidate the critical role of institutional efficiency and resilience in governing dynamic and complex social–ecological systems, enabling the flexibility to address emergent transformations.
KeywordsAdaptive co-management Biodiversity Governance Resilience Social–ecological systems Watershed management
I would like to thank Michael Hibbard and Max Nielsen-Pincus for their guidance and enthusiasm for watershed management. I would also like to thank Daniel Gavin and Joshua Roering for their insights on long-term physical processes important to watershed functioning.
- Berkes, F., D.R. Armitage, and N. Doubleday. 2007. Adaptive co-management: Collaboration, learning, and multi-level governance. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.Google Scholar
- Berkes, F., C. Folke, and J. Colding. 2000. Linking social and ecological systems: Management practices and social mechanisms for building resilience. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Born, S.M., and K.D. Genskow, 1999. Exploring the watershed approach: Critical dimensions of state-local partnerships. The Four Corners Watershed Innovators Initiative Report, Madison, WI (in Swedish, English summary).Google Scholar
- Castle, S.L., B.F. Thomas, J.T. Reager, M. Rodell, S.C. Swenson, and J.S. Famiglietti. 2014. Groundwater depletion during drought threatens future water security of the Colorado River Basin. Geophysical Research Letters 41: 5904–5911. doi: 10.1002/2014gl061055.
- Columbia Basin Fish & Wildlife Program. 2012. Program funds by fiscal year and account. Retrieved August 17, 2012, from http://www.cbfish.org/Fund.mvc/Index.
- Erickson, A.M. 2014. Nested localized institutions for adaptive co-management: A history of state watershed management in the Pacific Region of the United States. Society & Natural Resources 28: 1–16. doi: 10.1080/08941920.2014.933920.
- Getches, D.H. 2001. Some irreverent questions about watershed-based efforts. In Across the great divide: Explorations in collaborative conservation and the American West, ed. P. Brick, D. Snow, and S. Van De Wetering. Washington, D.C: Island Press.Google Scholar
- Habermas, J. 1984. The theory of communicative action. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
- Hibbard, M., and S. Lurie. 2005. Understanding the community economic and social impacts of Oregon’s Watershed Councils. University of Oregon Report, Eugene, OR (in Swedish, English summary).Google Scholar
- Holling, C.S. 1978. Adaptive environmental assessment and management. Laxenburg/Chichester: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis/Wiley.Google Scholar
- Katz, J., P. Moyle, R. Quiñones, J. Israel, and S. Purdy. 2013. Impending extinction of salmon, steelhead, and trout (Salmonidae) in California. Environmental Biology of Fishes 96: 1169–1186. doi: 10.1007/s10641-012-9974-8.
- Kerr, J. 2007. Watershed management: Lessons from common property theory. International Journal of the Commons 1: 89–109.Google Scholar
- National Marine Fisheries Service. 2011. Report to Congress: Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund: FY 2000–2010. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Silver Spring, MD.Google Scholar
- National Research Council: Committee on Assessment of Water Resources Research. 2004. Confronting the nation’s water problems: The role of research. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.Google Scholar
- Nielsen-Pincus, M., and C. Moseley. 2010. Economic and employment impacts of forest and watershed restoration in Oregon. University of Oregon Report (in Swedish, English summary).Google Scholar
- Pinkerton, E. 1989. Co-operative management of local fisheries: New directions for improved management and community development. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.Google Scholar
- Reeve, T., J. Lichatowich, W. Towey, and A. Duncan. 2006. Building science and accountability into community-based restoration: Can a new funding approach facilitate effective and accountable restoration? Fisheries 31: 17–24. doi: 10.1577/1548-8446(2006)31[17:BSAAIC]2.0.CO;2.
- Roni, P., G. Pess, T. Beechie, and S. Morley. 2010. Estimating changes in Coho Salmon and Steelhead abundance from watershed restoration: How much restoration is needed to measurably increase smolt production? North American Journal of Fisheries Management 30: 1469–1484. doi: 10.1577/m09-162.1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- State of California. 2008. California Department of Conservation, 2004–2007. Watershed Coordinator Grant Program: Final Report. D. o. Conservation, Sacramento, CA.Google Scholar
- State of Idaho. 1996. Bull Trout Conservation Plan. Governor Philip E. Batt, 133. Boise, ID.Google Scholar
- State of Washington. 2008. Directory: Lead entities for Salmon recovery. D. o. F. a. Wildlife, Olympia, WA.Google Scholar
- State of Washington. 2011. Memorandum of Understanding: ESHB 2514 and ESHB 2496. Retrieved February 8, 2011, from http://www.ecy.wa.gov/watershed/misc/MOU.html.
- State of Washington. 2012. State of salmon in watersheds. Olympia, WA: G. s. S. R. Office.Google Scholar
- U.S. General Accounting Office. 2002. Columbia River Basin Salmon and Steelhead: Federal Agencies’ recovery responsibilities, expenditures and actions: Report to the Ranking minority member, subcommittee on fisheries, wildlife, and water, committee on environment and public works, U.S. Senate. Washington, D.C.: U.S. General Accounting Office.Google Scholar