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Keywords:

  • watershed management;
  • watershed planning;
  • sociology;
  • collaborative groups

Chaffin, B.C., R.L. Mahler, J.D. Wulfhorst, and B. Shafii, 2011. Collaborative Watershed Groups in Three Pacific Northwest States: A Regional Evaluation of Group Metrics and Perceived Success. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) 48(1): 113-122. DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-1688.2011.00599.x

Abstract:  Watershed management through collaborative groups has become important throughout the United States over the past two decades. Although several studies of Oregon and Washington watershed groups exist, a definitive regional analysis of Pacific Northwest (PNW) watershed groups’ success is lacking. This paper uses data collected from a single survey instrument to determine the status, structure, and success of watershed groups in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, respectively. Results indicate that watershed group member satisfaction with elements of group structure correlates with levels of perceived group success. Strong leadership within a group and a clear mission statement also indicate higher levels of perceived success. Contrasting realized successes among PNW watershed groups with metrics of perceived success constructed from survey data define watershed groups’ missions and goals and is validated by analysis of the Washington State planning groups’ responses. Overall, PNW watershed groups identified themselves as largely successful. Therefore, the structure, function, and operation identified as characteristic of PNW watershed groups could be used as a model for developing watershed group programming in regions with similar conditions.