Organizational arrangements for watershed governance on Vancouver Island : a focus on regional government roles and relationships
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Subjectcomplexity; governance; organizations; regional government; social-ecological systems; watersheds
The nature of water being cross-jurisdictional, vital, and not constrained by political boundaries, underscores the importance of arranging the organizations that make and influence decisions about watersheds in a way that meets complexity with resilience. This research — through interviews, network mapping, grounded observation, and literature review –— investigates the experiences of various organizations within three Vancouver Island case study areas: Alberni-Clayoquot, Nanaimo, and Capital regions. Using a social-ecological systems lens focused on the system as a whole, inclusive of the organizations and the ecology, this study explores what organizational arrangements can support sustainable context-driven watershed decision-making. The results point to key principles for organizational roles and relationships concerning watersheds, including: multiplicity, capacity, forums, and reciprocity. Niches for regional government in a multi-level framework also emerged, such as: bridging to community; exercising some regulatory authority and influence; establishing reliable long-term funding mechanisms; convening across levels of government; and supporting First Nations leadership.
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