Removing Dams, Constructing Science: Watershed Restoration Through A Socio-Eco-Technical Systems Lens [report]

Zbigniew Grabowski
2000 unpublished
Ecological conservation and restoration in the anthropocene must struggle with overlapping drivers of biodiversity and cultural loss; ruptures of the ecological environment mirror ruptures of human relationships with nature. And yet technology cannot remove humans from nature; technological and infrastructural reconfigurations of nature create new vulnerabilities and risks for humans and ecosystems alike. How can conservation and restoration science productively grapple with complex
more » ... re systems and decision-making processes as biophysical and social drivers of ecosystem change? Using dam removals in the USA and in the Mid Columbia River region of the Pacific Northwest, this dissertation develops a conceptual framework for Social, Environmental, and Technological Systems (SETS), and applies it at three spatial and temporal scales to the practice of dam removal as a river restoration strategy. Drawing upon existing data sets, as well as biophysical, document, survey, and interview data this dissertation addresses how dam removals have functioned in the context of the social histories of river restoration programs, examines how these restoration programs must continue to renegotiate the human relationships with nature through the infrastructure systems that enable certain forms of existence while precluding others. iv Acknowledgements This dissertation work would not have been possible without the careful guidance of my committee, and the extremely generous support of all my research participants and consultants. I am particularly grateful to those individuals who took the time and care to share their experiences of dam removal and watershed planning, restoration, and conservation from their point of view. You know who you are, and you are appreciated.
doi:10.15760/etd.6399 fatcat:34ab2pndibaavkn7abu44akuhq