UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Evaluating community-government watershed management partnerships : the case of Langley Environmental Partners Society, British Columbia De Goes, Lisa


British Columbia's aquatic ecosystems are being lost and degraded. This loss is occurring mainly because of an increasing population, development pressures, and people's alienation from the natural environment. Community-government partnerships have evolved to try to address aquatic ecosystem degradation. This thesis specifically examines community-government partnerships and addresses two main questions: What makes a good partnership? And, how can the longevity of partnerships be ensured? The main thesis questions are addressed through the application of an evaluative framework to a case study - the Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS). The LEPS has been a community-government partnership jointly initiated by senior staff of the Township of Langley, members of the federal and the provincial governments, and Langley watershed stewardship groups and schools. The main criteria of the evaluative framework are good governance; efficient procedure, and adequate resources. Information about the LEPS was gathered through qualitative research methods, including participant- observation, interviewing, and a review of documentation. Based on the aforementioned qualitative research and evaluative criteria, community and government support, strong leadership, credible staff, coordination, cooperation, success, self-sufficiency,and flexibility were characteristics identified as traits of the LEPS that have led to its longevity and success. Whereas having paid staff working with volunteers, a lack of a constituency, a lack of real influence, a lack of stable funding leading to competition with other groups, a lack of coordination, and a poor profile were identified as the LEPS' traits that might lead to the groups demise. As a result of the preceding conclusions, recommendations are made for the LEPS, senior government and the TOL. Based on all of the strengths of the LEPS identified by the evaluative framework and its ability to address many of the barriers to sustainable water resource management, the LEPS serves as a good basis for further experimentation in watershed governance. The LEPS model is not perfect but can serve as a framework for other communities to build upon.

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