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Some community socio-economic benefits of watershed councils: A case study from Oregon

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One of the most significant junctures in natural resource planning and management in recent years has been the emergence of community-based natural resource management (CBNRM). The central focus of CBNRM is the environment, of course. However, it explicitly considers the local economy and community as well. It is a highly participatory approach to local, place-based projects, programs and policies aimed simultaneously at environmental and community health. This paper is an attempt to shed light on what happens in the local economy and community as a result of pursuing a CBNRM strategy. Oregon has been in the vanguard in putting CBNRM into operation. A key example is the state's experience with local watershed councils and the state agency that supports them, the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB). Drawing from a larger study of Oregon's watershed councils, we ask and answer the questions: What direct contribution do watershed councils make to the local economies of Oregon?’; Do watershed councils contribute to civic engagement’ in Oregon?’ and Do they enhance individuals' and communities’ capacity to engage in public issues beyond watershed council activities?’

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute for Policy Research and Innovation, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2006

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