Stability and Flexibility in the Emergence of Adaptive Water Governance

  • Robin Kundis CraigEmail author
  • Ahjond S. Garmestani
  • Craig R. Allen
  • Craig Anthony (Tony) Arnold
  • Hannah Birgé
  • Daniel DeCaro
  • Hannah Gosnell


One of the goals of adaptive governance is to increase management flexibility in the face of a changing social-ecological system. In contrast, one of the key functions of governance systems is to provide stability, predictability, and security for the people subject to that system. This chapter explores this adaptive governance paradox, focusing on the Klamath and Everglades case studies presented earlier in this volume—although the paradox arises in all of the case study river basins and indeed in most adaptive governance projects. It concludes that while the Everglades system has detrimentally privileged stability at the expense of flexibility and adaptability, the Klamath Basin system is showing signs that it may be able to appropriately balance stability and flexibility in its governance institutions to better address changing climatic, legal, and political realities.


Adaptive governance Balance Due process Equity Fairness Legitimacy Nonequilibrium Procedure Resilience Rule Standard 



This work was developed in part under the Adaptive Water Governance Project, funded by the US National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) under funding from the US National Science Foundation, NSF DBI-1052875. The Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit is jointly supported by a cooperative agreement among the US Geological Survey, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, the University of Nebraska, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Wildlife Management Institute.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin Kundis Craig
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ahjond S. Garmestani
    • 2
  • Craig R. Allen
    • 3
  • Craig Anthony (Tony) Arnold
    • 4
  • Hannah Birgé
    • 5
    • 6
  • Daniel DeCaro
    • 7
  • Hannah Gosnell
    • 8
  1. 1.S.J. Quinney College of LawUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  2. 2.School of Natural ResourcesUniversity of NebraskaLincolnUSA
  3. 3.U.S. Geological Survey, Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, School of Natural ResourcesUniversity of NebraskaLincolnUSA
  4. 4.Brandeis School of Law and Department of Urban and Public AffairsUniversity of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA
  5. 5.Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, School of Natural ResourcesUniversity of NebraskaLincolnUSA
  6. 6.The Nature ConservancyOmahaUSA
  7. 7.Department of Urban and Public Affairs, Department of Psychological and Brain SciencesUniversity of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA
  8. 8.College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric SciencesOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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