When Do Stakeholder Negotiations Work? A Multiple Lens Analysis of Watershed Restorations in California and Washington

EPA Grant Number: R827145
Title: When Do Stakeholder Negotiations Work? A Multiple Lens Analysis of Watershed Restorations in California and Washington
Investigators: Sabatier, Paul A. , Quinn, James , Cook, Elizabeth , Pelkey, Neil , Leach, William
Current Investigators: Sabatier, Paul A. , Quinn, James , Pelkey, Neil , Leach, William
Institution: University of California - Davis
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: January 1, 1999 through December 31, 2000
Project Amount: $149,935
RFA: Water and Watersheds (1998) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Water , Water and Watersheds


1) To analyze quantitatively the factors affecting the ability of stakeholder negotiation processes to reach formal agreements on restoration goals/strategies, and to implement those agreements.

2) To compare the ability of three theoretical frameworks to explain this variation in success among stakeholder partnerships. The frameworks are: (a) Elinor Ostrom's Institutional Analysis and Development framework for the management of common property resources, (b) Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith's Advocacy Coalition Framework of policy change, and (c) Robert Putnam's framework for understanding the role that social capital plays in solving collective action problems.

3) To provide concrete guidance to agency managers about how they might assist local partnerships, and how to identify which partnerships represent the best "investments."

4) To ascertain whether consensus-based negotiation processes have been more successful than other approaches in developing and implementing restoration projects.

5) To identify which watershed characteristics are most amenable to rehabilitation.


Approximately one hundred case studies of local stakeholder negotiations in the states of California and Washington will be selected by geographic distribution and extent of agreement. We shall use interviews with key local participants and documentary analysis to develop the basic history in each community, to identify 30-40 important actors, and to identify relevant projects (whether resulting from consensus processes or not). Most of the data on causal variables will be gathered by a mail survey of the 30-40 participants in each locale. Data on organizational achievements will be obtained from the interviews, the survey, and existing compilations of projects developed by the Information Center for the Environment (in house). Data on ecological conditions will be collected from the partnerships themselves, from public agencies such as water districts, and state and federal agencies.

Expected Results:

The results should be of interest to both (a) social scientists interested in improving the three theoretical frameworks, and (b) agency officials concerned with deciding how (and whether) to support specific stakeholder negotiations.

Risk Management. Several agencies who allocate restoration bond monies in California already use the UC Davis watershed groups and projects databases underlying this proposal, and hope to exploit our results to improve evaluation of future stakeholder- driven proposals.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 7 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 2 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Region 10, social science., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Water & Watershed, Restoration, State, Ecology and Ecosystems, Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration, EPA Region, Social Science, Watersheds, stakeholder groups, community involvement, valuation of watersheds, decision making, collective action problems, community-based research, cost benefit, common property resources, consensus based negotiation process, restoration strategies, Washington (WA), citizen perceptions, ecological recovery, aquatic ecosystems, environmental rehabilitation, water quality, public policy, Region 10, California (CA), sociological, watershed restoration, aquatic habitat protection , community values, ecological research

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1999 Progress Report
  • Final Report