Pits, Politics, and People : Identifying Barriers to the Enhancement Reclamation of Floodplain Aggregate Mines in the Willamette Valley, OR Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/wd3760397

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  • Aggregate, which consists of crushed rock, sand, and gravel resources, is one of the most extracted resources in Oregon. Floodplain sites throughout the Willamette Valley -- particularly along the Willamette River -- are of particular importance because they produce high quality sand and gravel, located close to the aggregate market. The best farmland in Oregon is also located in the Valley, as is prime habitat for endangered salmonids in the Willamette River. Since the 1990s, conflicts between miners, farmers, and environmentalists have increased in both intensity and frequency in the Valley. In 2004, Oregon Consensus brought together stakeholders to discuss the conflict. No formal report or findings came from the group and the conflict has not been addressed since. This research revisits the aggregate-agriculture-environment conflict in the Valley for the first time in a decade and examines the potential of "enhancement reclamation" at floodplain aggregate pits to alleviate conflict tensions. Aggregate industry representatives, farmers, environmental consultants, and government officials were interviewed to inform this research. Central concepts that influence both the conflict situation and reclamation in the Valley are identified and discussed in detail. These data are then analyzed to identify barriers to the enhancement reclamation of floodplain aggregate pits. The qualitative assessment also explores interviewee recommended solutions to the conflict and ways to encourage enhancement reclamation in the future. The resulting discussion is guided by the implementation of a new conflict assessment framework, The Phase-Vision Map. The framework organizes central concepts of the conflict by three interworking dimensions: substance, procedure, and relationship. Ultimately, a vision for the future of the aggregate-agriculture-environment conflict is offered, which is built off of recommendations to further enhancement reclamation in the Valley.
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