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Title: Implementing%20Effective%20Watershed%20Management%20Programs:%20Lessons%20from%20Six%20Watershed%20Management%20Programs

Implementing Effective Watershed Management
ProgramsLessons from Six Watershed Management
  • Mark T. Imperial, Ph.D.
  • Master of Public Administration Program
  • University of North Carolina at Wilmington
  • http//
  • Timothy Hennessey, Ph.D.
  • Dept. of Political Science
  • Dept. of Marine Affairs
  • University of Rhode Island

Research Design
  • Based in part on a study funded by the National
    Academy of Public Administration
  • Analyzed 6 watershed management programs
  • Inland Bays (DE)
  • Lake Tahoe (CA, NV)
  • Narragansett Bay (RI, MA)
  • Salt Ponds (RI)
  • Tampa Bay (FL)
  • Tillamook Bay (OR)

What is the Ecosystem Approach?
  • Usual tendency assumes that no watershed is
    managed without some form of centralized
    government program
  • Programs often emphasize science and some form of
    participatory planning process
  • But all watersheds are managed in various ways
  • Complex set of programs at the federal, state,
    and local level
  • Watershed management is as much a problem of
    improving governance as it is science or policy

Ecosystem Governance
  • Governance
  • Means for achieving direction, control, and
    coordination of organizations with varying
    degrees of autonomy in order to advance the
    objectives to which they jointly contribute
  • Challenge for practitioners
  • Find ways to enhance governance in a world of
    shared power where the capacity for solving
    problems is widely dispersed and few
    organizations have the power to accomplish their
    missions by acting alone

Improving Ecosystem Governance
  • When viewed from an institutional perspective,
    you improve ecosystem governance by
  • Building, enhancing, expanding, or changing
    interorganizational networks
  • Managing existing interorganizational networks
    more effectively
  • Altering, changing, or improving how decisions
    are made both within and across organizations
    (integration and coordination)
  • Building new institutions that improve problem
    solving capacity
  • These activities are likely to occur at different
  • Operational, policy-making, institutional level

Operational Level
  • Activities involve government service delivery
  • Improve environmental conditions directly or
  • Occur individually or collectively
  • Influenced by activities at the policy-making or
    institutional level
  • Improving environmental conditions
  • Habitat restoration, installing BMPs or other
    environmental infrastructure, land acquisition,
    coordinated permit programs
  • Educating decisionmakers and the public
  • Educational and training programs targeted at
    schools, homeowners, industry, resource users,
    and government officials
  • Monitoring and enforcement
  • New monitoring programs, coordinating existing
    environmental monitoring programs, and improved
    regulatory enforcement

Policy-Making Level
  • Collective decisions that determine, enforce,
    continue, constrain, or alter actions at the
    operational level
  • Performs a steering function by improving
    communication, coordinating actions, and
    integrating policies that advance shared goals
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Examples joint research projects, interagency
    databases (e.g., GIS), co-locating staff,
    creating work groups, task forces, committees,
    and regular informal staff interactions
  • Activities are necessary because
  • Information is often lacking or widely dispersed
  • Competition for resources and policy direction
    helps practitioners find creative solutions to
    shared problems

Policy-Making Level
  • Resource sharing
  • Shortage of resources (staffing, funding,
    expertise) is common
  • Examples hiring staff to work in other
    organizations, volunteers, sharing costs, using
    another agencys funding priorities
  • Develop shared policies and norms
  • Examples shared policy documents, joint work
    plans, shared priorities for infrastructure
    investment, BMPs, habitat restoration, or land
  • Activities help
  • Creates a shared sense of purpose
  • Creates peer pressure at the political,
    professional, and individual levels helps
    enforce agreements and encourages action
  • Integrate policies agency decisions at the
    operational level - steering function

Institutional Level
  • It is important to not only establish meaningful
    interactions, but find ways to make these
    relationships endure
  • Key institutionalize shared policies in a higher
    order set of rules or create new organizational
  • Institutionalize shared policies in existing
  • Examples MOU, creating a new program,
    incorporating policies into comprehensive plans,
    CIPs, or other plans, legal agreements, or new
  • Create new network organizations
  • When a group of organizations makes joint
    decisions or acts as a single entity they are
    acting as a new organization an organization
    comprised of other organizations

Institutional Level
  • These activities are important because they
  • Enhance or constrain activities at other levels
  • Make activities less dependent on personal
    relationships or hard to replace leaders
  • Minimize turnover problems (e.g., loss of
    institutional memory or trust embedded in
    personal relationships)
  • Provide institutional infrastructure that
    subsequent collaborative efforts build upon
  • Provide slack resources to support collaborative
    activities at the policy making or operational

What are some lessons for practitioners seeking
to improve ecosystem governance and build new
Think Holistically, Act Strategically
  • Important to understand the ecology of
  • The unique contextual setting, tradeoffs among
    problems, and how institutions function and
  • Look for strategic opportunities to improve
    ecosystem governance dont separate planning
    from implementation
  • Avoid a centralized is best mindset
  • Tendency to manage activities using one large
  • By way of contrast, you could use series of
    targeted efforts involving only the actors need
    to complete the task
  • This polycentric approach can reduce transaction
    costs, increase flow of information, and allows
    potential collaborators to negotiate directly
    with one another

Public Value is Generated in Many Ways
  • Improved environmental conditions is often the
    driving force that initiates watershed efforts
  • However, respondents often point to intangible
    issues related to improved governance when asked
    about program benefits
  • Public value is generated at different levels
  • Individual
  • Organizational
  • Network
  • Societal

Sources of Public Value
  • Improved job satisfaction or motivation
  • This can improve job performance
  • Learning, adaptation, and change
  • Policy-oriented learning
  • Diffusion of innovations,
  • Collaborative know-how
  • Developing organizational and network capacity
  • Enhances coordination within and across
  • Improves program effectiveness/efficiency
  • Better decision-making and resource allocation
  • Leverages new resources
  • Social capital and civil society
  • Develops trust and personal relationships
  • Volunteerism and civic engagement

Inertia Bandwagon Effects
  • While the pattern of activities in each watershed
    varies, it is common to find that
  • Initial efforts are slower than expected
  • They then increase in scope and number as
    participants gain experience and learn how to
    work together or
  • They gradually peter out as enthusiasm and
    resources diminish, participants are unable to
    overcome their differences, or they are unable to
    find ways to work together
  • Inertia
  • Participants underestimate the time and effort
    required to build relationships and trust
    precursors to joint action
  • Takes time to plan and organize efforts, secure
    necessary resources, and reach agreement on a
    course of joint action

Inertia Bandwagon Effects
  • Bandwagon effects
  • Once a threshold level of success is achieved,
    efforts build momentum, pick up speed, gain new
    members and resources, and expand to address new
    issues and problems
  • Advice for practitioners
  • Gradually scale up efforts to facilitate learning
  • Start with issues where there is strong support,
    build on early successes, and expand efforts to
    other issues/problems over time
  • Enlarge shadow of the future so there is reason
    for continued interaction
  • Trust builds slowly, can be destroyed quickly,
    and it must be maintained

Common Implementation Problems
  • Disposition and skills of implementors
  • Some staff/organizations may not like working
  • Staff/organizations lack skills to participate
    effectively or manage network processes
  • It takes resources such as time, money,
    equipment, staff, technical expertise, and legal
    authority to get things done
  • If you cant do more than attend meetings, then
    you cant get much done
  • If resources are distributed among organizations
    it creates complementary relationships and
    incentives for joint action

Common Implementation Problems
  • Heavy reliance on external funding sources
  • Funding agency sets priorities rather than
    watershed effort
  • Need to systematically address specific problems
    to avoid random acts of environmental kindness
  • Stability in funding is important
  • Facilitates repeated interactions
  • Allows participants to plan and budget with
  • Reduces transaction costs related to finding
  • Lots of incentives for noncooperative behavior
  • Turf guarding, conflicting budgetary and
    statutory responsibilities, competing
    programmatic priorities, etc.

  • Accountability mechanisms are important but also
    are a two-edged sword
  • Specific goals, objectives, and monitoring
    processes provide incentives for joint action
  • Monitoring processes create peer pressure at the
    political, professional, and individual level
  • But there is a constant tension between
    organizational autonomy and accountability
  • Too much accountability can create disincentives
    for joint action

Summary Conclusions
  • Ecosystem management is advanced governance and
    there is no substitute for well managed programs
  • Management matters
  • Need good director and staff and have them work
    as a team
  • Wide range of skills required to manage network
  • Build on early successes and expand efforts over
  • Pick issues where there is strong intersectoral
    support and celebrate the small wins to get the
    bandwagon rolling
  • Implementation tends to be a trial and error
    process as practitioners learn how to work
    together in productive ways
  • Path-dependent quality - some activities will be
    preparatory to others