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Evaluating ecological monitoring of civic environmental stewardship in the Green-Duwamish watershed, WashingtonAuthor(s): Jacob C. Sheppard; Clare M. Ryan; Dale J. Blahna
Source: Landscape and Urban Planning. 2017. 158: 87-95.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
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DescriptionThe ecological outcomes of civic environmental stewardship are poorly understood, especially at scales larger than individual sites. In this study we characterized civic environmental stewardship programs in the Green-Duwamish watershed in King County, WA, and evaluated the extent to which stewardship outcomes were monitored. We developed a four-step process based on the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation to structure our evaluation and to make recommendations for future monitoring of ecological outcomes of stewardship activities. Environmental stewardship, primarily in the form of restoration projects, was common throughout the lower and middle watershed. The distribution of stewardship sites was influenced by population density, political and program boundaries, and financial and technical resources. Conceptual frameworks that link conservation goals, ecological threats, management strategies, and monitoring were rare and incomplete. Collaboration among programs was an important component of stewardship in the watershed, although communication gaps were identified between geographic regions and different ecosystems. Monitoring efforts were relatively common but unevenly distributed, often unsystematic, and usually dictated by project maintenance, funding purpose, or a program’s standard practices, rather than specific ecological outcomes and goals. As a result, monitoring results were rarely and inconsistently used for management. We recommend improving stewardship monitoring by clearly linking stewardship activities to specific conservation goals and objectives, developing reasonable quantitative outcome metrics that link upland and aquatic environments, and improving coordination and learning of monitoring efforts among multiple stewardship programs and actors.
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CitationSheppard, Jacob C.; Ryan, Clare M.; Blahna, Dale J. 2017. Evaluating ecological monitoring of civic environmental stewardship in the Green-Duwamish watershed, Washington. Landscape and Urban Planning. 158: 87-95.
KeywordsCivic stewardship, environmental restoration, monitoring, Open Standards, outcomes
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