Message from Tami Miketa, Manager of the Small Forest Landowner Office

NOTE: The article “Ways to Connect: The Chehalis Basin Partnership and Lead Entity”   by Kirsten Harma, Watershed Coordinator, Chehalis Basin Partnership, was mistakenly attributed to another author when first posted in February 2017. Our apologies for this error.

In this edition of our quarterly newsletter, the Small Forest Landowner Office introduces a new series called “Ways To Connect.” This series will highlight several local partnerships or collaborative natural resources management efforts across the state that have formed as frameworks for local citizens, interest groups and government organizations to work collaboratively to identify and solve local natural resource issues.

The groups we will feature have diverse memberships: cities, counties, tribes, state agencies, federal agencies, and citizen stakeholders, among others. These partnerships enable local people to deal with the unique social, political and ecological problems their communities might face and find solutions ideal to their situation. Local partnerships are incredibly beneficial, not only for the health of the environment but also for the well-being of the stakeholders and the community.

Local partnerships generally share a few key assumptions:

  • Locals are better placed to conserve natural resources,
  • People will conserve a resource if benefits exceed the costs of conservation, and
  • People will conserve a resource that is linked directly to their quality of life.

When quality of life is enhanced, efforts and commitment to ensure the future well-being of the resource are also enhanced. Local partnerships also are hailed as a way to reduce conflict among stakeholders; build social capital; allow environmental, social, and economic issues to be addressed in tandem; and produce better decisions.

The natural resource challenges that face us today, from threats of forest conversion to water and air quality degradation, appear almost impossible to resolve through parties working in isolation. These partnerships may be unilateral, where people from similar backgrounds work collaboratively and cooperatively on a shared problem or opportunity, for example, a growers’ or fishers’ cooperative. They may be bilateral, where the partners come from two different backgrounds, for example, a rural land care group where partners, predominantly from a single primary industry group, work with government. Or they may be multilateral, where the partners come from several different backgrounds, as is the case with estuary, coastal and catchment management groups.

In this edition we introduce the Chehalis Basin Partnership. The Chehalis Basin Partnership was formed in 1998 to provide a framework for local citizens, interest groups and government organizations to work collaboratively to identify and solve water-related issues. Please read Kirsten Harma’s article and see how partnerships work in the Chehalis Basin and how partnerships may work in your own community.

By Tami Miketa, Manager, DNR Small Forest Landowner Office