The question of resilient and effective ecosystem governance: a case study of the Abbotsford-Sumas Aquifer International Task Force

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Messa, Stephanie
Western Washington University
Environmental policy--International cooperation; Political geography; Aquifers--British Columbia--Abbotsford Region; Aquifers--Washington (State)--Sumas Region; Groundwater--Pollution--British Columbia--Abbotsford Region; Groundwater--Pollution--Washington (State)--Sumas Region; British Columbia--Relations--Washington (State); Washington (State)--Relations--British Columbia; Geography; Abbotsford Region (B.C.); Sumas Region (Wash.); British Columbia; Washington (State); masters theses
thesis / dissertation description
This paper examines the transition from government to governance in transboundary water resource management that is widely noted in the literature. As researchers and managers recognize the shortcomings of traditional management of natural resources, a shift away from the traditional, rules-­‐based approach to an adaptive, iterative, and cross-­‐scale form of management is occurring. This research focused on the Abbotsford-­‐Sumas Aquifer International Task Force as a possible example of this paradigm shift. Semi-­‐structured interviews and surveys were used to collect background information and history, current status and efforts, and future directions of the Task Force. The results of the research show that adaptive management is not occurring and therefore the Task Force is not an example of active adaptive governance. Although the Task Force has been successful in providing a means for information sharing and collaboration very little has been done in terms of action items leading to the reduction of nitrate contamination in the aquifer. Although largely ineffective in accomplishing its mission, stakeholders still value small, working groups and continue to show interest in participating.