|Abstract or Summary
- Human adaptation to change is an essential determinant in the resilience of complex social-ecological systems. In the field of water policy and management it has become increasingly clear that traditional government actors cannot fully address emerging water problems at every scale given a demonstrated lack of resources, increasing variability in available water supplies, and dependence on the actions of individual users. Theories of democratic network governance recognize that traditional mechanisms of governmental control, generally represented through top-down policy and bureaucratic oversight, do not fully realize the interests, resources and expertise offered by individuals and evolving social networks. Adaptive water management necessitates strong networks within and between local, state and regional organizations that have the institutional capacity to measure and respond to changing ecological and social conditions.
There are myriad local, state and federal agencies, in addition to private organizations in the state of Oregon that are responsible for managing the services performed by ecosystems in urban and rural landscapes. In 2009 the Oregon State Legislature recognized, however, that “these efforts are generally fragmented, uncoordinated and often work at cross-purposes.” In the Oregon Senate Bill (SB) 513 the legislature calls for “new or improved regulatory schemes” that will result in greater coordination between existing public and private natural resource management organizations, though SB 513 does not explicitly define a new institutional arrangement. SB 513 advocates for an ecosystem-based approach to natural resource management that includes diverse stakeholders in policy development and implementation. Consequently, SB 513 has the potential to foster a complex network of public and private natural resource managers and professionals who rely on public, private and civil resources to implement large-scale conservation and restoration efforts. Any governance networks that emerge from SB 513 will have a significant impact on the future of water resources management in Oregon.