UNDERSTANDING THE ROLE OF ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE NETWORKS IN WATERSHED GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT
Free (open access)
33 - 44
JUDY STEWART, MARY ELLEN TYLER
The Bow River Basin Council (BRBC) functions as both an environmental governance network (EGN) and a bridging organization for watershed management in the Calgary region of southwestern Alberta, Canada. BRBC’s structure and function are examined to understand its role in inter-jurisdictional, cross-sectoral watershed management. EGNs such as BRBC emerge in complex social-ecological systems, and influence policy development and municipal participation in watershed management activities, manage information flows, and close functional cross-scalar “gaps” in government policy and regulation. Self-selecting and voluntary, BRBC stakeholders reflect multiple and sometimes competing sectoral interests in water and watershed management. EGNs such as BRBC may be structured to function as bridging organizations, brokering between actors in the watershed to achieve common watershed management objectives. The BRBC performs valuable functions for social learning, co-creation of knowledge, and collaborative and adaptive watershed management planning. Reflexive legal processes may provide the necessary procedural mechanisms to legitimize BRBC’s decision-making processes and co-created watershed management plans.
environmental management, environmental governance networks, bridging organizations, social-ecological systems, reflexive legal processes