File:Abel et al 2022 evaluating puget sound ecosystem governance.pdf

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Troy D. Abel, Raechel Youngberg, Jann Eberharter and Mark Stephan. "Sound Natural Resource Governance for Washington’s Estuarine Recovery?" (2022) Available at:


  • Funded by Kitsap County under a NEP award from Ecology
  • Who are participants? Only 34% identified "productive experiences of recovery".
  • Authors identified four arenas in restoration, growth (management?), transportation, and forestry, and that they remain in siloes.
  • Author observed governance failure through failure to achieve governance goals, and net ecological advances in land cover.
  • Puget Sound EBM violates three design principles in Common Pool Resource Management theory.
    • "relied on a collaborative governing strategy instead of developing diverse institutional rules"
    • "fragmentation among four governing arenas impacting Puget Sound health thwarted effective


  • Authors observes that Fishery Harvest is co-managed with managers able to sanction violation. However landcover, Riparian Buffering Functions, and growth management systems have no equivalent system. Efforts in these arenas have failed.
  • Authors suggest three policy prescriptions:
    1. Increase integration of regulatory vs. collaborative approaches rather than seeing them as competing alternatives, and linking between silos. For the example of linking growth management and salmon recovery the authors point to HB 117 which died in senate ways and means in 2021, and HB 1838 which didn't leave committee in 2022.
    2. Local jurisdictions and their stakeholders need not wait for legislative actions, and can incorporate Net Ecological Gain into Comprehensive Planing practices.
    3. Authors point to High Resolution Aerial Imagery Change Detection to evaluate gains and losses at multiple scales.
  • Cites Lemos and Agrawal's definition of governance: "The set of regulatory processes, mechanisms, and organizations through which political actors influence environmental actions and outcomes. Governance is not the same as government”
  • Authors recognize the "collaborative and non-regulatory mandate" of PSP but do not observe the sequence of political events that ended the Puget Sound Water Quality Authority.
  • Authors identify a Forestry and Transportation sector in addition to Planning and Funding Systems and Regulation and Mitigation Systems described in this wiki. In addition they highlight Land Cover and Development tools as particularly important within Monitoring and Evaluation System.
  • The essay provides a scathing critique of the NEP framework--"fragmented environmental governance lacked coordination while power remained broadly distributed. The governance arrangements for Puget Sound recovery seem to exemplify the fragmented category" and "while the Puget Sound’s polycentric governing arrangements exhibited high levels of representation and adaptability, they found mixed results for efficacy and network building and poor outcomes for accountability and efficiency" and "Our results and several assessments converged on how Puget Sound recovery governance persistently struggled to achieve the recognized benefits of collaboration." and finally, pulling observations from Chesapeake, "There is little evidence to suggest that voluntary (or self-regulatory) programs—which contain no binding performance standards, independent certification, or sanctions—are effective."


  • The article rediscovers that isolation of salmon recovery from local growth management as a key flashpoint for political conflict in Washington Station, beginning with the poorly documented Tri-County Negotiations over interpretation of 4(d) provisions of the ESA in the period 1999-2002, wherein GMA implementation was taken to satisfy 4(d) requirements without accountability, and the Agricultural Fish and Water negotiations around riparian management collapsed. The separation of salmon recovery from growth management is not incidental or symptomatic--it is an intentional outcome of aggressive political conflict. So in effect the authors rediscovered that Puget Sound has a belly button (an underlying stakeholder conflict over parcel value and control). This important observation is frequently forgotten in the feckless pursuit of collaborative progress. The authors do however find the belly button. Local governments under SMA and GMA have the authority to implement net gain, and local stakeholders who care about the future of ecosystems "need not wait". Legislatures as well as agency executives can increase pressure toward this end, but frequently choose not to. And systems like High Resolution Aerial Imagery Change Detection are technological tools to administer accountability systems that we are purposefully neglecting. I would propose there may be risk in describing cultural conflict as if it were a puzzle that is confusing, rather than a fight. Pcereghino (talk)

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current18:05, 7 December 2022 (3.83 MB)Pcereghino (talk | contribs){{document}}category:social science '''Troy D. Abel, Raechel Youngberg, Jann Eberharter and Mark Stephan. "Sound Natural Resource Governance for Washington’s Estuarine Recovery?" (2022) Available at:''' ==N...

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