US Long-Term Ecological Research Network
Approaches to management at the watershed scale
Freshwater and freshwater ecosystems lie at the heart of the challenge of ecosystem management (Naiman 1992, Lee 1993, Naiman et a!. 1995a, 1995b). Because they integrate natural resource and socioeconomic systems, freshwater issues embody the complexity that will characterize natural resource management as we move into the 21st century. Changes in human demography, resource consumption, cultural values, institutional processes, technological applications, and inf01mation all contribute to that complexity. If we are to achieve long-term social stability as well as ecological vitality, we must understand the abilities and limits of freshwater ecosystems to respond to human -generated pressures. Yet, even though human actions and cultural values drive environmental issues, few holistic approaches for watershed management offer effective resolution. In the current debate over the scope of ecosystem management (Grumbine 1994, Montgomery et al,1995), it is widely recognized that there are significant technical and cultural constraints to effective implementation. These constraints are related to such issues as identifying appropriate spatial and temporal scales, monitoring and assessment, developing an adaptive management process, and developing cultural values and philosophies that allow ecosystem management to be successful (Levin 1993, Grumbine 1994). Nonetheless, the ability of a rapidly increasing human population to dramatically impact local, regional, and global ecosystems makes it essential to incorporate an ecological perspective into watershed management if we are to leave a healthy resource base for future generations. The first part of this chapter suggests several features that are fundamental to contemporary watershed management. The second part then presents several practical approaches for implementing effective watershed management programs.
Year of Publication
Number of Pages
Island Press
Place Published
Washington, D. C.
ISBN Number
LLL:shelved with books SD144 A13 C74 1997TL1724
Citation Key