Event Title

Building a Guiding Vision for River Conservation and Restoration through Research and Public Participation

Presenter Information

Stan Gregory

Location

Eccles Conference Center

Event Website

http://water.usu.edu

Start Date

4-2-2014 11:30 AM

End Date

4-2-2014 12:00 PM

Description

In the Oregon State of the Environment Report (2000), we concluded that “many of Oregon’s key environmental problems are concentrated in the lowlands where most Oregonians live and work. With few exceptions, these problems are most critical in the lowlands of the major river basins--historically the wetlands, woodlands, and grasslands--that Oregonians have intensively developed for homes, cities, farms, and ranches. These lands are mostly privately owned, and the actions involved come from people and industries going about the ordinary business of life.” One of the critical elements in any conservation and restoration program is the development of a shared guiding vision that incorporates past trajectories of change, identifies current landscapes and communities, and anticipates future change. I will present an example of this challenge and some of our successes and failures for the Willamette River. Our research group has identified trajectories of change from 1850 to 2050 using empirical research, modeling, and stakeholder participation. We have built on that spatial and temporal context to develop a conservation and restoration program for the mainstem Willamette River. Assessments of floodplain complexity, channel morphology, water quality, and fish communities have been a central scientific element in this program, but the largest challenge has been the development of a guiding vision shared among the participating funding institutions, agencies, scientists, watershed councils, citizen groups, land owners, and general public. We have used several tools---recurring informational meetings, funding proposals, community meetings, video development, and river trips---to create participation. But sharing a common guiding vision is more difficult and developing a series of static products or events. We now are trying collectively to build an evolving guiding vision that is not static and builds on the body of knowledge shared among the diverse participants, a guiding vision that is an evolving integration of the collective knowledge and hopes has been our greatest challenge. I will illustrate some of the approaches that we in the Willamette River Basin are using to meet these challenges for water in the 21st century. In closing, I will irritate the audience by suggesting that Oregon and Utah face similar water histories and issues and have much to benefit by sharing innovations and future scenarios.

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Apr 2nd, 11:30 AM Apr 2nd, 12:00 PM

Building a Guiding Vision for River Conservation and Restoration through Research and Public Participation

Eccles Conference Center

In the Oregon State of the Environment Report (2000), we concluded that “many of Oregon’s key environmental problems are concentrated in the lowlands where most Oregonians live and work. With few exceptions, these problems are most critical in the lowlands of the major river basins--historically the wetlands, woodlands, and grasslands--that Oregonians have intensively developed for homes, cities, farms, and ranches. These lands are mostly privately owned, and the actions involved come from people and industries going about the ordinary business of life.” One of the critical elements in any conservation and restoration program is the development of a shared guiding vision that incorporates past trajectories of change, identifies current landscapes and communities, and anticipates future change. I will present an example of this challenge and some of our successes and failures for the Willamette River. Our research group has identified trajectories of change from 1850 to 2050 using empirical research, modeling, and stakeholder participation. We have built on that spatial and temporal context to develop a conservation and restoration program for the mainstem Willamette River. Assessments of floodplain complexity, channel morphology, water quality, and fish communities have been a central scientific element in this program, but the largest challenge has been the development of a guiding vision shared among the participating funding institutions, agencies, scientists, watershed councils, citizen groups, land owners, and general public. We have used several tools---recurring informational meetings, funding proposals, community meetings, video development, and river trips---to create participation. But sharing a common guiding vision is more difficult and developing a series of static products or events. We now are trying collectively to build an evolving guiding vision that is not static and builds on the body of knowledge shared among the diverse participants, a guiding vision that is an evolving integration of the collective knowledge and hopes has been our greatest challenge. I will illustrate some of the approaches that we in the Willamette River Basin are using to meet these challenges for water in the 21st century. In closing, I will irritate the audience by suggesting that Oregon and Utah face similar water histories and issues and have much to benefit by sharing innovations and future scenarios.

https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/runoff/2014/2014Abstracts/59