Evaluating the collaboration towards a future vision and ecosystem objectives for the Salmon River Watershed

Kathy Lynn Grant
In 1995, the Salmon River Watershed Roundtable (SRWR) became a pilot project for a collaborative process to establish community-developed ecosystem objectives, (part of a larger project to develop goals, objectives and indicators of ecosystem health). This thesis evaluates the collaboration using mostly qualitative methods including document analysis, participant observation, interviews with process participants, and a survey of watershed residents. A comparison of the case study to a 5-stage
more » ... del of collaboration framed the description of events, revealed parallels between the case study and the model, and placed the case study in the "structuring" stage of collaboration. Through evaluating the process from the participants' viewpoints, several conclusions were drawn. (1) The overall goal of the pilot project was achieved, community developed ecosystem objectives were established. (2) Process strengths included: wide-spread awareness and support for the project within the watershed; a clearly defined convenor role; a well organized and facilitated process which encouraged participation of people present; and the education of local residents about their watershed and their neighbours. (3) Process weaknesses or areas for improvement included: unclear roles of watershed residents and government agencies; poor attendance at community meetings; long and repetitive meetings; mistrust over the use of government funds; and scepticism about the ability of the SRWR to implement the objectives developed. Although the project cost $124,955 in contributed funding, as well as huge commitments of time and energy, most process participants thought the benefits of the process out-weighed those costs. Benefits included: anticipated improvements in ecosystem health; education of, and shared understanding among watershed stakeholders; information for use in other planning processes; and organizational direction for the SRWR. Successul elements of the case study provide a strong basis for continuing the pilot project into i [...]
doi:10.14288/1.0099145 fatcat:bsjlcrsrq5fqxibzrxdx66kb3a