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1 ~ Institutional Analysis INTRODUCTION The long decline of salmon in the Pacific Northwest has been a slow process by human timekeeping: for more than a century, overfishing, habitat destruction and degradation, and substitution of naturally reproducing fish runs with hatch- ery-produced fish has depleted the genetic diversity and abundances of salmon. It has taken a long time for people to notice. The loss of wild fish was obscured by hatchery production; the dwindling of salmon, especially those east of the Cascade Mountains, was masked by the shifting of catch from the American Indians, who depended upon fish for subsistence, to commercial fishers, who came to depend on fish for economic survival. As salmon abundance declined, the remaining populations have been made more vulnerable to natural fluctua- tions (Schaefer 1981, Gilpin 1987, Goodman 1987, Hartman and Scrivener 19904. What has taken a century to do will not be swiftly undone. The problems are of human, institutional origin; remedies, if they are to be found, must entail human, institutional change. If there were once thought to be easy remedies- such as hatcheries or fish ladders or temporary fishing restrictions or large-scale subsidies from the hydropower dams-they have proved to be less durable and more painful than had been hoped. A harder, subtler remedy is deliberate institu- tional redesign: the recovery team chartered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) after the listing of Snake River populations called for centralizing author- ity in the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The recovery team saw important institutional problems- fragmentation of scientific effort, responsibil- ity, and authority, leading to a lack of accountability. Arguing only that "no one 324
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INSTITUTIONAL ANALYSIS 325 is in charge" (Snake River Salmon Recovery Team 1994:6), the team recom- mended NMFS, which has a legal mandate to protect the endangered populations. Yet it would be asking too much of this one agency to bring about complex, painful changes in the region's economy. There may be good reasons to central- ize and shift the locus of authority, but this response is not adequate for the large, highly diverse natural and social systems that form the habitat of Pacific North- west salmon. Institutions do matter. The bitter divisions and economic pain that are the legacy of the northern spotted owl in the Pacific Northwest stand as reminders that the available means of protecting declining species produce strife and that their costs are real. The available institutional incentives might well lead to a continuing drumfire of petitions under the ESA. It is against this sober specter of conflicts joined and impending that the committee explored the possibilities for institutional change. We have found no easy answers, but constructive possibilities can be identified. Three ideas shape recent discussions of natural-resources policy in the American West: bioregion- alism, cooperative management, and adaptive management. Each has a powerful logic rooted in science or reason, each seems socially promising, and each is systematic and thus suggests a strategy of reform. None will be easily adopted comprehensively: each of these ideas forces changes in the "lords of yesterday" (Wilkinson 1992) described in Chapter 5, the extractive approach to federally owned resources that underlies much of the western economy. Because the problems of salmon are intertwined with the routine operation of the economy, the existing institutional structure cannot be easily replaced by one tailored to the needs of salmon. An ecosystem approach must also include the humans within the ecosystem. Each of the three principal organizing concepts thus blends scientific and social questions, bringing diagnostic insights but also raising the stakes for what must be changed if salmon are to be rehabilitated. The tenor of this appraisal should not be mistaken for pessimism: much can be done to improve salmon management, population by population, habitat by habitat, season by season. A serious and determined effort which entails the combined actions of parties now bitterly opposed and widely separated in space and interests is likely, over time, to yield a rehabilitated set of salmon popula- tions and, more important, a fund of human knowledge and a structure of man- agement that seems likely to be able to sustain both fish and fisheries into the indefinite future. But that serious and determined effort will take perseverance and durable support from a people and an economy marked more than anything else by their pace of change over the last century. Rehabilitating the salmon of the Pacific Northwest will take decades, incur direct costs in the billions of dollars (the cost of the Columbia River Basin effort to rebuild salmon populations since 1981 is more than $1 billion, and current costs exceed $200 million per year tHardy 19931), and require substantial realignments of property rights and gov- ernmental institutions; all this will demand of the leaders of the region both
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326 UPSTREAM: SALMON AND SOCIETY IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST political courage and scientific acumen. These appear at first sight to be im- mense, perhaps infeasible requirements, until we recall that over the last dozen decades, a regional economy has grown in the Northwest, with an output valued at hundreds of billions of dollars per year, and that novel government institutions, such as the Bonneville Power Administration founded in 1937, and modified property rights, such as constraints on water pollution or the duty to recycle, have become accepted or even forgotten as routine. Much can be done, but it will not be easy, especially at first. When human responsibility does not match the spatial, temporal, or func- tional scale of natural phenomena, unsustainable use of resources is likely and will persist as long as the mismatch of scales remains (Lee 1993b). In pre- industrial societies, where long-term dependence on renewable resources has been the norm, a wide spectrum of institutions has emerged to link the scale of human endeavor to the scales of nature (Suttles 1968, McCay and Acheson 19871. But since the Renaissance that linkage has not always been visible or necessary in the short run and has often been displaced. Technological change created new resources, extending the human control of nature and making some substances, such as uranium, useful in new ways. As exploration enlarged the reach of markets, natural resources entered world trade: valuable resources-like furs, timber, and salmon were removed from their native habitats and sold in distant markets at high profit. Unsustainable use was in full swing. But the growing momentum of technological change brought substitutes to market when natural supplies began to dwindle: new fibers for furs, new building materials for timber, and artificially cultured fish for wild salmon. Unsustainable exploitation could proceed to economic extinction, but the markets' warning signals of rising price would simply induce inventors to innovate and consumers to shift to substi- tutes. If the march toward extinction of salmon is to be halted, scale mismatches institutionalized over the last century need to be recognized and then reflected in institutional changes that take matters of scale into account. This is not a call for wholesale change: neither removal of mainstem dams nor drastic change in property rights would in itself reopen migration routes for salmon or rebuild natural habitat. But until salmon have migration routes and habitat that can sustain their populations, decline will continue. In discussing bioregionalism, cooperative management, and adaptive management, the committee's purpose has been to use these ideas diagnostically to spell out the predicament faced by salmon today. Only after the diagnosis has been put into perspective can sensible paths to rehabilitation be identified. BIOREGIONAL GOVERNANCE The boundaries of property and government, like the less sharply etched patterns of markets, rarely follow the outlines of biology and topography. From
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INSTITUTIONAL ANALYSIS 327 an airliner above the Pacific Northwest, a passenger can see forest clearcuts, their rectangular edges slashing across hillsides, with streambeds delineated by protec- tive strips of untagged trees. Maps show straight-line political borders-cutting across the curvatures of ecosystems and societies or ones that follow major rivers. Yet rivers are the centers, not perimeters, of biological provinces; rivers are thoroughfares where migration paths merge. And maps show institutional- ized error: the border between central Idaho and southwest Montana was drawn on what was thought to be the continental divide, but the divide turns out to be on the higher range to the east, within Montana. A simple idea for reform is to ground governance in bioregions: to shift the margins of human control and responsibility to match natural boundaries. For salmon, whose genetics are mapped to natal streams, the drainage basin is the logical unit. The idea of managing fish populations as distinct entities, spelled out in Chapter 11, may be feasible only within a geographic template anchored in drainages and migration routes. The idea is simple and rarely implemented since the arrival of non-Indians. The Olympic National Park in Washington state encompasses a mountain range, a natural province; the Columbia River basin defines the geographic scope of the Northwest's most ambitious plan for salmon (NPPC 19921; the Forest Ecosystem Management Team (FEMAT) identified key watersheds in the range of the northern spotted owl (see Figure 7-4~. But John Wesley Powell's dream, a century ago, to organize the settlement of the arid West around its river basins, was ignored in the rush to exploit the region's lands and minerals (Stegner 1954~. A map of the Western states, with their straight borders, shows where priorities came to rest. Key watersheds (Figure 7-4), drawn by topography and gravity and populated by spotted owls, must contend with county boundaries (Figure 13-1) drawn by humans with rulers and transits. Today, the definition of property and state borders has long been settled. More important, trade routes that link different biogeographic provinces are in place: highways, transmission lines for electricity, water diversions, and others. Along these human paths flow commercial transactions in which human values define the relative scarcity of specific resources, including water, salmon, and the farm and forest crops harvested from managed vegetation and animal popula- tions. Any attempt to shift human jurisdictions so as to focus attention on the welfare of salmon must begin with these boundaries and patterns. Because the migratory range of salmon goes from Alaska to California, from ocean, the biological range of the fish is too large and too diverse to be manage- able as a single spatial unit. Most analyses (e.g., Johnson et al. 1991, Moyle and Ellison 1991) and some policies (FEMAT 1993, Washington Forest Practices Board 1993) use the watershed as the unit of planning. There are roughly 1,000 drainages in the Pacific Northwest, counting streams of order 6i and higher, and iAn order 2 stream is formed by the confluence of two order ~ streams; an order 3 stream is formed by the confluence of two order 2 streams, and so. The higher the order number, the larger the stream or river.
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328 Olympic Peninsula Northwest Oregon _ _ West-Central Oregon _ _ Southwest Orennn Northern California _ _ UPSTREAM: SALMON AND SOCIETY IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST Puget Sound Central Washington Lower Columbia Central Oregon FIGURE 13-1 Counties and subregions. Source: FEMAT 1993. roughly the same number of local governments in the region, but there is little correspondence between the two sets of boundaries. Any attempt to manage the natal habitats of evolutionarily significant units of the salmon population encoun- ters this fact: human and salmon geographies do not match. Intermediate-scale alternatives have been tried, with mixed results. The Pacific Northwest River Basins Commission (PNRBC) divided the states of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington into 11 subregions (Figure 13-2), following the contours of major drainages (PNRBC 1969~. Beginning in 1987, northwest American Indian tribes and fishery agencies gathered data and formulated plans to manage the Columbia's salmon populations in 31 subbasins (see Figure 13-3), but that biologically coherent approach to the assemblage of populations has been shunted aside in the effort to save the four populations protected under the ESA (Volkman and McConnaha 1993~. The PNRBC whose studies were informa- tive, thoughtful, and in retrospect surprisingly accurate-was ignored by private and public agencies alike; it was disbanded in 1981 as part of a government efficiency drive (Executive Office of the President 19811. Promising analysis has
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INSTITUTIONAL ANALYSIS t ~l ~ - ~U ? ~ ~ R - _ PUNNET :1 ~2 ~CLtRK F~K- SOUNO _~. ~I_ _,J COLU# BtA ~= ~ ~i~ 7 em MIKE ~ ~S_~. 329 ~- /~HE7Tt ~ 7~7 ~ :4 COASTAL ~ BASIN ~ ~ ~ ~ FIGURE 13-2 Eleven Columbia basin, Puget Sound, and coastal basins that could serve as bioregional planning units. Source: Pacific Northwest River Basins Commission, 1972. in both cases led to little action, in part because both relied on administrative or planning boundaries that have no visibility or acceptance among local communi- ties. In sum, the Northwest has no socially established boundaries that corre- spond to bioregions relevant to salmon. Even if social and ecosystem boundaries were better matched, however, bioregional management would face coupling between bioregions due to the effects of stem, edges and common mode. Edge effects are spatial mismatches: if the land uses in adjacent bioregions are drastically different, there can be spill- overs. Heavy timber harvest in one bioregion may affect reseeding in a neighbor- ing one. More generally, species that do well in sharply defined edges are often successful in invading and displacing native species (Moyle and Yoshiyama 19941. Stem effects are couplings between regions due to shared biogeography, such as migration routes in the mainstem of a large river system or in ocean areas. The pressure on low-productivity fish populations due to mixed-population fish- ing is a stem effect, as are the deaths due to dam construction and operation. Common-mode elects are those whose spatial scale is larger than that of a bioregion. A national economic recession or a climate change is a common- mode effect. A sense of shared crisis can be heightened when common-mode effects are felt, whereas stem and edge problems tend to sharpen conflicts be
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330 UPSTREAM: SALMON AND SOCIETYIN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FIGURE 13-3 Subbasins in the Columbia River Basin: Columbia River mainstem below Bonneville Dam, Columbia River mainstem from below Bonneville Dam to the Snake River, Columbia River mainstem from Snake River to Chief Joseph Dam, and Scaly River mainstem from the mouth to the Hells Canyon Dam. tween bioregions. The provision of mainstem habitat for salmon, a stem effect, has proved to be the Achilles' heel of the Columbia River (see Chapter 91. The Northwest Power Planning Council (NPPC) fish and wildlife program did not address the question of how much river flow was biologically necessary in 1982, when the program was formulated. The absence of biological rationale, in turn, made the ESA petitions of 1990 both inevitable and, once filed, unanswerable. Interdependencies among bioregions might not decrease in intensity with distance in space, time, or function. Some scale mismatches resist localization and thus resist the kind of resolution that the bioregional approach is meant to foster. For that reason, complete decentralization to the bioregional level is inadequate. Stem effects link bioregions that might not be adjacent: the endan- gered chinook salmon of the Snake River are caught with many abundant fishes in Alaskan waters; as long as ocean fishing continues, it is difficult or impossible to persuade Alaska fishers that they must forgo targeting healthy populations for the benefit of Snake River chinook. Unless the institutions managing stem habitats are given appropriate re- sources and jurisdiction, the system will be ungovernable-something that the
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INSTITUTIONAL ANALYSIS 331 committee believes has happened in attempts to deal with the ocean fishery. For example, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), responsible for ocean-fishing management, has authority over neither ocean nor in-stream habi- tat. In addition, financial and human resources available through PFMC or other sources to meet salmon-related research needs have declined even as the needs have increased. In the Columbia River Basin, money and information were centralized in the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and NPPC; authority was dispersed among fish and wildlife agencies, partly countered by the central- ized powers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. That combination, for both historical and functional reasons, has been unable to reach stable resolution; instability continues to undermine salmon. A critical but elusive need is to handle and to contain conflict. Stem institu- tions must have real influence because without a comprehensive perspective the fragmentation of an ecosystem by jurisdictional boundaries promotes unsustain- able use, as users pursue purposes that often turn out to be incompatible with sustainable management of the whole ecosystem. For conflict resolution to suc- ceed, common goals for the stem must be defined. Yet sustainable management requires a decentralized, fragmented perspective as well, because decisions are carried out by parties whose responsibilities are narrower than the breadth of the analytic tools used by analysts at the stem level. Managing the tension between bioregion and stem entails, paradoxically, the fostering of political competition. The success of decentralized conflict resolution depends in large part on the . . . extent to which various interests see an opportunity to gain from compromise. When the situation is perceived to be a zero-sum game with only win and lose options, the incentive to compromise is undermined (Henna and Smith 1993~. If a common vision can be crafted, however, conflict and the analysis inspired by disputes can link the agendas of bioregions and stem institutions. In the Colum- bia River Basin, for example, fishery enhancement is funded by hydropower revenues. This arrangement is desirable on economic grounds because those benefiting from electricity help to pay for the damage that its production has caused. The impact on electric-power rates is small, but utilities and large users, such- as aluminum refiners, have felt an organizational and political incentive to act as watchdogs (e.g., Carr 1994), seeking to ensure that fishery managers achieve results. Thus a political mechanism reinforces an economic means of . . recognizing error. Tension between the centralized knowledge and control of stem institutions and the decentralized experience of the bioregions is perennial. Central planners and governments have a wide-angle, abstract view. Because they must deal with diverse and complex aggregations, there is a constant temptation to oversimplify. To managers at the center, it is imperative to channel the flood of information to manageable proportions. Tradeoffs that make sense at the system level can be incomprehensible or unjust from the local perspective, however. Stem managers see things in a way that is bound to seem incomplete, unfair,
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332 UPSTREAM: SALMON AND SOCIETY IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST or ignorant to observers at the local level, whose experience is first-hand and whose responsibility and information do not include factors important to overall stability and other system-level properties. Because local knowledge is more detailed, often more persuasive, and sometimes contrary to the inclinations of those responsible for the stem, local actors find themselves in the position of forcing stem managers to attend to matters that are being ignored, to integrate values that are separated by abstract understandings of what is needed, to change the stem manager's grasp of what an action means or the rules by which a decision should be taken. Those tensions are both inevitable and indispensable when neither stem nor bioregion can see the whole picture a situation that seems likely to persist, given the difficulties of grasping even parts of the whole today. Cooperative Management As conflict over natural resources intensified over the last generation, ob- servers and disputants increasingly turned to cooperative management, "power- sharing in the exercise of resource management between a government agency and a community or organization of stakeholders" (Pinkerton 1992:331~. Yet sharing of power has been resisted, in part because the American culture of accountability is rooted in a legal structure in which official government can seek advice but not yield its statutory powers. Although conflict has persisted, coop- erative management has a persuasive political claim to representing those with the most at stake, even if it is not a claim that can simply be meshed with the bioregional perspective discussed above. Given their differing objectives, representatives of user groups, the scientific community, and government agencies should share knowledge, power, and re- sponsibility. In principle, cooperative management brings resource-users and others with stakes in the resource directly into the management process. It assumes that stakeholders have data, understanding, and motivation that can help government officials to assess problems and devise solutions; that cooperation will moderate equity problems that often arise; and that if resource-users are more fully involved, they will be more likely to perceive the management system as legitimate and hence to comply with rules and regulations (McCay 1988 p. 327, Jentoft 1989, Pinkerton 1989~. Cooperative management of salmon rehabilitation implicitly recognizes the central role of equity in fashioning solutions to difficult questions of natural- resource management. If the salmon problem is largely a human problem and if approaches to it are likely to have large social and economic costs, then many of the people affected will demand to be involved trying to solve it. Residents, workers, fishers, those who depend on tourists and environmentalists have a right to be involved in governance. Their actions have a direct bearing on the welfare of the salmon. Some, such as many residents of coastal communities,
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INSTITUTIONAL ANALYSIS 333 have few alternatives when salmon populations decline in abundance or when management rules change. The practicalities of implementation demand that whatever is decided receive support from those who are affected. "People will not support what they cannot understand, and they cannot understand that with which they are not involved" (FEMAT 1993:89~. However, as the number of competing interests in a resource increases, the costs, procedural complications, and complex policy tradeoffs of cooperative management are likely to increase as well, often in apparent disproportion to the scope of involvement. Cooperative management is a general approach to governance that does not dictate the structure of organizations, except that it is probably easier to achieve cooperation among smaller groups of people and in organizations that are less bureaucratized than the ones that characteristically administer complex policies. Cooperative management implies an institutional change, however, a shift in the structure of power that acknowledges the role of various interests consumers, representatives of different industries, environmentalists in policy, planning, implementation, and evaluation. Traditional outsiders act in cooperation with each other and with the government agencies that exercise legal mandates in fishery management and have traditionally controlled most of the financial re- sources and information used in management. Cooperative management of salmon and water is already institutionalized in the Pacific Northwest. First, beginning with treaty fishing-rights litigation in the late 1960s, the treaty tribes and the state of Washington finally worked out genuine cooperative management for salmon fishing in the Puget Sound in the middle 1980s, and a federal court oversees a similar arrangement in Oregon (Cohen 1986, Pinkerton 1992, Hanna and Smith 1993~. Second, the Pacific Fishery Management Council has designed its decision structure to promote ac- tive consultation with its salmon advisory committees. Three committees com- prising state- and federal-agency scientists, treaty-tribe scientists, university sci- entists, and representatives of user groups and environmental interests are formal advisers to the council on all decisions related to salmon-fishery management. In addition, numerous public meetings provide forums for public comment on regu- latory decisions and management plans (PFMC 19931. Third, in 1990, as the threat of filings under the ESA materialized, the Salmon Summit recognized a wide range of interests as legitimate and redefined the arena for cooperative management to include fisheries, utilities, and the other claimants to multiple use of Pacific Northwest rivers. The largest attempt to cooperatively manage is the framework established by the Northwest Power Act. By creating a regional planning council, the act brought the governors of the Pacific Northwest states to a decision arena domi- nated by BPA management, augmenting the presence of the Northwest's con- gressional delegation, which had played an important but little-noticed role in the creation and management of the regional electric-power system (Lee et al. 19801. The Power Planning Council broadened the political base of the BPA as the
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334 UPSTREAM: SALMON AND SOCIETYIN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST governors, through the council, gained authority and influence over this region- ally important federal agency. The council also took its statutory mandate for public involvement seriously, affording opportunities for comment to citizens and organized groups as it devel- oped plans for electric power and for fish and wildlife in the Columbia River Basin. As is often seen in this variant of open government, however, the com- plexity of the issues and the large geographic scope of the region made it impos- sible, in a practical sense, for those without substantial resources to stay involved. By the middle 1980s, the "public" with which the council and BPA consulted was a population of organizations, not individuals: electric utilities with direct eco- nomic interests in the federal hydropower system; a small set of consumer and civic groups, such as the League of Women Voters, who could field volunteers to follow the council through meetings in four states; and state fishery and wildlife agencies and American Indian tribes with stakes in the council's fish and wildlife program. Indeed, two organizations, the Pacific Northwest Utilities Conference Committee, an organization formed by electric utilities and large industrial con- sumers of electric power, and the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority, a parallel organization created by the tribes and fishery agencies, gained influence within their communities largely because of the magnitude and complexity of the issues raised by the Northwest Power Act. Because the council eschewed any role in managing catch levels, fishing groups played little active role in its delib- erations, and their interests were represented by state agencies. Although the Northwest Power Act process falls short of the ideal of "power-sharing in the exercise of resource management" (Pinkerton 1992), it did join the agendas of fisheries and hydropower in a way that has forced conflict into the open and fostered joint action. Despite the existence of numerous cooperative arrangements on several scales, people remain largely divided, engaged in finger-pointing rather than collaborative problem-solving, and few government agencies operate with for- mal or legitimized involvement of affected groups or members of the public. Most seem satisfied with the formalities of public hearings, public review and comment on proposed rules and other documents, and the use of advisory com- mittees to supplement the inputs of lobbyists. This is consultative, not coopera- tive, management and has as yet done little to bring people together to collaborate on one of the biggest challenges imaginable. The novelty of cooperative management suggests that the assumptions be- hind it deserve critical examination. As might be expected given both the experi- mental nature of many cooperative management arrangements and the diversity of social and ecological systems and their contexts, the results of studies of cooperative arrangements for fisheries are mixed (Pinkerton 19891. McCay (1988) found great difficulties in implementing cooperative management in a bay clam rehabilitation project because of conflicting and unrealistic expectations and roles and because of scientific uncertainty, but identified accomplishments as
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INSTITUTIONAL ANALYSIS 337 River basin program of the Northwest Power Planning Council (Lee 1993a). A recent retrospective analysis by two senior members of the council staff (Volkman and McConnaha 1993) came to conclusions remarkably similar to those in the studies by Walters et al. and Hilborn and Winton. Third, an abortive attempt to borrow the flexibility implicit in an experimental approach was tried in 1987 in state-forest management in Washington State (Halbert and Lee 1990, Pinkerton 1992~. Finally, the idea of adaptive management areas, in which timber harvest would be combined with ecosystem management, is being studied in the USDA Forest Service (USFS) program to manage federal forest lands in the Pacific Northwest (FEMAT 19931. This body of experience has produced lessons about the practicability of adaptive management and the institutional conditions that affect how experi- ments on the scale of ecosystems can be conducted: . i Learning takes from decades to as long as a century2. Patience narticu larly in institutional settings, such as government, that work on much faster cycles, is both necessary and difficult. · Systematic record-keeping and monitoring are essential if learning is to be possible. But collecting information is expensive and often hard to justify at the outset and during times of budget stringency because the benefits of learning are hard to estimate quantitatively. · Cooperative management in the design and execution of experiments is Indispensable. Experimentation within the context of resource use depends on the collaboration of resource-users. · Adaptive management does not eliminate political conflict but can affect its character in important, if indirect, ways. Paradoxically, each of those lessons runs counter to or at cross-purposes with the administrative framework of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Conserving species and habitats whose biology is poorly understood requires patient observa- tion and analysis that take into account the economic needs of resource-users and that rely on the painstaking fashioning of political consensus. But the urgency that prompts listing of a species as endangered raises the perceived risk of failure and inhibits experimentation even though urgency also makes learning more tangibly valuable. When one considers the alternative ways to approach biodiversity conserva 2The decade-scale variation in the ocean habitats of salmon, discussed in Chapter 3, adds another complicating factor. Although improved understanding of the systematic effects of oceanographic change can illuminate some of the variation in salmon abundance, it is likely that study of particular populations will still need to accumulate information through several ocean fluctuations before reli- able patterns can be found.
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338 UPSTREAM: SALMON AND SOCIETYIN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST lion analyzed by Moyle and Yoshiyama (1994), it is apparent that an experimen- tal approach like adaptive management is more likely to work better at the earlier stages of depletion before a procedurally inflexible approach is triggered by severe decline in abundance. It is also among these healthier populations that the risks of experimentation are more likely to be tolerable, and that the long times needed for reliable learning can be afforded. The committee's recommendation to move toward management by population, using such methods as terminal fisheries, is a way to decouple the fate of populations that are endangered, and thus subject to extraordinary protection, from populations that might be able to be managed in a way that can permit more rapid learning. Even with these changes, the move away from hatcheries, which permit far greater control of salmon populations, at much lower monitoring cost, and toward ecosystem management will raise the expense of learning and demand much more precise intervention into the life cycles of specific, identified populations (~7olkman and McConnaha 1993~. How to carry out experimentation and learning under the more demand- ing conditions has not been well explored; indeed, experience with artificial propagation suggests that even that presumably easier problem of adaptive man- agement has been formidable (Hilborn and Winton 1993~. FEMAT (1993) suggested that adaptive management be conceptualized as a cycle of planning and adaptation. In contrast with the image of planning as an orderly process, adaptive management is replete with surprises, given the frag- mented jurisdictions and conflicting claims that characterize the salmon habitat. Those destabilizing elements, which appear to be inherent in the social dynamics of adaptive processes, underscore the importance of patience, persistence, and a politically grounded determination to make constructive use of inevitable con- flicts. Disputes are sure to arise within the spans of space, time, and functional interaction that characterize human behavior; indeed, the conflicts that gave rise to the Northwest Power Act and that have reappeared transformed under the Endangered Species Act are part of a long-term search for an accommodation between humans and the natural environment symbolized by and partly summa- rized in the plight of salmon. Lee's (1993a) analysis of adaptive management arrived at a similar set of conditions that influence the feasibility of an experimental approach (see Table 13-1~. Today, the last two requirements of adaptive management institutional stability and an organizational culture that enables experimentation and learn- ing do not exist. Creating and sustaining them seems difficult or impossible, given the depth of conflict and the fact that open conflict has widened in scope since the American Indian fishing-rights litigation began a quarter-century ago. The problem is one of institutional frailty. Science can identify the problem, but solving it requires political will and steadfast managerial leadership, which sci- ence cannot supply. Without a durable commitment to the goal of rehabilitation, with its painful costs, it is unlikely that social conditions under which learning
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INSTITUTIONAL ANALYSIS TABLE 13-1 Institutional Conditions Affecting Adaptive Management 339 There is a mandate to take action In the face of uncertainty. But experim.entat~on and learning are at most secondary objectives in large ecosystems. Experimentation that conflicts with primary objectives will often be pushed aside or not proposed. Decision makers are aware that they are experimenting. But experimentation is an open admission that there might be no positive return. More generally, specifying hypotheses to be tested raises the risk of perceived failure. Decision-makers care about improving outcomes over biological time scales. But the costs of monitoring, controls, and replication are substantial, and they will appear especially high at the outset when compared with the costs of unmonitored trial and error. Individual decision- makers rarely stay in office over times of biological significance. Preservation of pristine environments is no longer an option, and human intervention cannot produce desired outcomes predictably. And remedial action crosses jurisdictional boundaries and requires coordinated implementation over long periods. can take place will be maintained. And without experimental learning, human resuscitation of the declining salmon population will be hit or miss. The principles of reform, if not its details, can be stated: · Bioregional scale. Jurisdictions and patterns of economic flows should take into account the scale of salmon habitats. Rules and practices in stem habitats, especially rivers and ocean fishing areas, should reflect the need to rehabilitate salmon. In particular, halting the decline of all populations that stakeholders judge to be worth saving must be accorded the highest priority, even at substantial risk to human communities and other, healthier species of fish and wildlife. Intertemporal rules, such as interest or discount rates and lengths of contracts or leases, should take into account that changes in abundances of salmon and in our understanding of the biological needs of managed salmon have under- gone substantial shifts on time scales of about a decade. Flexibility to take into account new learning at the decadal time scale is essential. . Cooperative management and social diversity. Stakeholders in salmon and the economic values of their habitats are highly varied and often see them- selves as locked in zero-sum struggles, in which the gains of some can come only at the expense of others. Yet the emergence of cooperative management over the last two decades, taking into account the interests of those whose economic claims might be small or unrealized, has demonstrated that arrangements afford- ing compensation to those who yield their claims to exploit a resource can be negotiated and carried out. Assured compensation is, moreover, more conducive to social stability and investment than the pursuit of highly fluctuating and dimin- ishing resources. Acting on the bioregional scale decentralizes authority. This is
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340 UPSTREAM: SALMON AND SOCIETY IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST valuable especially when it fosters diversity in the approach taken to protection and management of salmon. Diversity is a sensible response to the large uncer- tainties that remain in our scientific understanding of salmon biology. And diversity in social arrangements and institutions would enable salmon rehabilita- tion to persist even in the face of common-mode disruptions, such as economic recession and climate change. Decentralization should, however, honor obliga- tions along stem habitats; that has not been done during the decline of the salmon over the last century, and acknowledging and reversing this history is a central challenge to the establishment of cooperative management now. · Experimentation and adaptive management. Because salmon popula- tions are far from their natural equilibria and because the salmon life cycle is comparable in length with many societal rhythms, learning about salmon is obscured by changes among human observers. Persistent, accurate observation is essential to learning, particularly because learning is likely to take decades or longer. Learning by trial and error is inherently slower than deliberate experi- mentation because errors are often hard to recognize or diagnose correctly, and because trials are not designed for replication or controlled comparison unless an experimental framework is taken into account. Given the already slow pace of learning imposed by environmental fluctuations and the time scale of the salmon life cycle, experimentation should be used as often as it can be afforded, under institutional conditions that provide assurance that experiments can be carried to conclusion. Those conditions have not often been available in the past. An objective of reform should be to make them more readily available in the future, by ensuring funding for ecosystem-scale research and monitoring and by giving scientists a place in the scheme of cooperative management. Following those principles, the committee would design institutions whose jurisdictions follow major river basins or biologically related drainages, whose decision-making accords power and influence to the socially diverse human groups that inhabit those ecosystems (including appropriate economic incen- tives), and whose governing procedures and resources enable experimentation and ensure faithful monitoring of ecosystem variables. But such a design will have no life unless those who are governed by it take a role in the processes of design and institutional reform. The recent history of the Pacific Northwest shows a clear biological crisis with environmental and economic impacts that cannot be denied. But there is not yet a social crisis of the kind that, in an open, competitive society, can become the wellspring of institutional change. A PROPOSAL FOR CONSTRUCTIVE ACTION The salmon problem is regional in scale: although specific causes and pos- sible remedies vary, salmon populations throughout the Pacific Northwest are in serious decline. The human resources to deal with these declines are substantial
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INSTITUTIONAL ANALYSIS 341 but limited. The money and, more important, time to attend to populations that are or will be in trouble over the next decade might well be insufficient to provide for the recovery of all those populations (NRC 1995b); that has been the experi- ence of the ESA (Tobin 1990) even without the extraordinary stresses present in the Northwest. In addition, institutional changes are difficult to achieve and their effects difficult to predict, in large part because institutional responses to change are based on the responses of individuals to the potential changes in their circum- stances. For that reason, the committee does not attempt to recommend in detail institutional and procedural changes needed but offers an outline for change as a basis for responding to the decline of salmon populations in a more flexible and more biologically effective fashion than is possible for other species. The details must be worked out by the individuals and institutions of the region. The committee proposes that the relevant agencies, including the National Marine Fisheries Service, agree on a process to permit the formulation of salmon- recovery plans in advance of listings under the ESA and that the Pacific North- west states, acting individually and through the Northwest Power Planning Coun- cil, provide technical and financial assistance to watershed-level organizations to prepare and implement these preemptive recovery plans. The USFS, Department of the Interior, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of State should also provide technical and financial assistance. The concept of a preemptive recovery plan is described more fully below. When a salmon population appears to be threatened or endangered, the cur- rent institutional structure responds with a federal process. Either in response to a petition or on its own initiative, NMFS, a federal agency, gathers information, hears advocates, and decides whether to list the population as threatened or endangered under the ESA. Listing a species triggers a variety of federally mandated actions, including the preparation of a recovery plan for the population under consideration. Listing a species and the adoption and implementation of the recovery plan can be conflicted, politicized, and delayed because they can involve such actions as designation of critical habitat and the prohibition or reduction of various activities and therefore can bring the risk of serious eco- nomic disruption (NRC l995b). The economic risks are often borne by people different from those who bear the losses due to salmon-population declines. Partly as a result, the seriousness of the risks is often perceived differently. Given the hundreds of populations and metapopulations (networks of populations) into which salmon are divided by their life histories, the widespread decline of many of those populations and metapopulations, the inadequacy of resources of NMFS and the other government parties to the ESA process, and the fact that the ESA process can be triggered by petitioners who can take action without committing substantial resources of their own, the ESA today carries the risk of producing disorder in the Pacific Northwest, whatever the merits of its policy of saving endangered species. The committee has emphasized three components of a constructive course of
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342 UPSTREAM: SALMON AND SOCIETY IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST action. First, biologically distinct salmon populations spawn in watersheds and migrate to sea along streams that typically flow beyond their natal watershed; as recruits to ocean and inriver fisheries, salmon can be exposed to mixed-popula- tion fishing. Action to protect a given population must therefore be organized within the biologically relevant drainage and along its migration route in fresh- water and at sea. That is, action should be bioregional and include protection or improvement of migration paths. Second, although it is clear that much of the habitat modification carried out by humans over the last 150 years has been detrimental to salmon, fishery science cannot ensure the recovery of any specific salmon population. Science can identify changes that are likely to be necessary but cannot specify a course of action that is known in advance to be sufficient to guarantee rehabilitation and conservation of a species. There is no correct answer to the question of how much biological diversity and population structure must be maintained or can be lost to provide a long-term future for salmon. Scientific estimates including the uncertainties associated with them are only part of the argument: society must decide what degree of biological security would be desirable and affordable if it could be achieved, i.e., the desired probablity of survival or extinction of natural populations over what time and what area, and at what cost. Therefore, a long- term adaptive, experimental approach is both logically compelling and pragmati- cally indispensable for a large collection of demes like those of Pacific salmon. Third, acting on the bioregional scale requires cooperation among diverse landowners and water-rights holders. In many biologically relevant regions, the land is controlled by different public and private entities and water flow is shaped by withdrawals and impoundments controlled by landowners and others. There is no single body of law, nor a practical way to consolidate governing powers, sufficient to put each bioregion under the supervision of a single managing entity today. From that practical reality grows the need to rely on cooperative manage- ment as a way to act in the face of fragmented control. The potential for disruption of human activities embodied in the ESA can provide a stimulus for cooperative management if cooperation enables the di- verse entities in a bioregion to improve their control of events. Because of the groundwork carried out by generations of fishery biologists and most recently summarized in FEMAT and the subbasin planning process of NPPC, it is possible to identify the geographic outlines of salmon bioregions. And with the resources available within the Columbia basin under the Northwest Power Act, it is pos- sible to formulate and to begin implementation of adaptive management aimed at ensuring the survival of salmon populations. Although the cooperation and re- sources that can be marshaled in the near future are unlikely to be sufficient to save all the populations that are or might become threatened, it is possible to move beyond the watchful defensiveness of today's uncertain situation. One way to harness the ESA's potential for disrupting human activities in a biologically constructive fashion is to foster the development of preemptive re
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INSTITUTIONAL ANALYSIS 343 covery plans, which incorporate binding contractual commitments from funding sources to undertake adaptive management to rehabilitate a specific salmon popu- lation within its bioregion and migration route. The plans would include a set of experimental actions and monitoring methods that ensure the learning of lessons important for salmon management as soon as possible probably 20 years in many cases-and that lead to a scientifically grounded expectation that the salmon population would increase during that time while preserving its genetic integrity. A recovery plan would need to reflect the commitments undertaken by all the parties that control the various elements of its execution. For that reason, it is likely that cooperative management would characterize plans' development and implementation. The plans would be preemptive in the sense that NMFS would agree that while a recovery plan it has adopted is in operation, the salmon popu- lation it covers is protected as much as is possible under the ESA. Protection of populations would be improved by including in the preemptive recovery plan minimum sustainable escapements for salmon populations and approaches for filling out the dendritic habitat of salmon populations. In sum, the formulation and adoption of a plan would forestall a petition under the ESA to protect the population covered by the plan. No filing on a population would be acted upon by NMFS after a state certified that a recovery plan was being developed and that positive steps were being taken or seriously planned to improve prospects for conservation and rehabilitation of the salmon populations, unless a petitioner demonstrated that a population decline warrant- ing emergency protection superseded the state's certification; this policy would allow time for a plan to be developed but leave the possibility that NMFS could reject a proposed plan (or lack of a plan) and take additional action. A preemptive recovery plan is attractive because it permits control of the ESA process, but mobilizing the divergent interests in a bioregion, designing an adaptive-management program, and ensuring funding to implement the plan re- quire resources beyond the capability of the inhabitants of most bioregions. Therefore, the active support of state governments is essential. The committee does not believe that any legislation prevents or discourages this from being pursued (although a way would need to be found to allow the government to delay action on a petition to list a species). State governments have already begun to act at the watershed level in natural-resources policies (Oregon Water- shed Improvement Council EKrueger 1994] and Washington Watershed Restora- tion Partnership Program "Harrison 199411. More important, states exercise legal authority over water rights and existing land-use planning and zoning powers. Finally, the states in the Pacific Northwest already act through NPPC, the agency with the most highly developed base of knowledge relevant to protection and enhancement of salmon on the bioregional scale; it can also direct funding to support recovery-plan implementation within the Columbia River Basin. The activities of the states should be augmented by the USFS and DOI's Bureau of Land Management (BLM), where these agencies are developing adaptive-man
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344 UPSTREaM: SALMON AND SOCIETY IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST agement areas and watershed-level plans under FEMAT. Assistance will also be needed from the Pacific Fisheries Management Council and the International Pacific Salmon Commission to set fishing restrictions to protect specific popula- tions, and from other relevant agencies that operate beyond state boundaries. It is unclear whether the support and resources available through federal and state governments will be enough to induce participants on the bioregional scale to create preemptive recovery plans. And it is possible that preemptive plans could seem so attractive that the organizing efforts would strain the resources available from the states and NPPC. If that were the case, it would be necessary to set priorities to provide resources first to bioregions harboring fish populations that are already declining seriously. Regional and state agencies seeking to stretch their resources must take into account, however, the stem effects that link watersheds through migration routes. By focusing on bioregions in trouble to- day, planning and action could rapidly encumber the limited capacity of the Snake River and other waterways to provide flows for migration or could force drastic, long-term constraints on fishing in an attempt to limit depletions from mixed-population fisheries. Such stem linkages entangle the fates of salmon from distant, apparently unconnected bioregions; that entanglement is clarified but not removed by preemptive recovery plans. Although preemptive recovery plans would have a bioregional focus, it is critical to their success that they take into account the entire life cycle and environment of salmon, including such factors as ocean conditions, international fisheries, large-scale interactions among salmon populations, as well as more obvious but more local factors. The prospect of constructive action to conserve and rehabilitate at least some salmon populations without the conflict and delays encountered under the present ESA regime leads the committee to advance the idea of preemptive plans. This approach requires no new legislation, and the resources that it calls into play are already available within the region. Although the shifts in incentives proposed are incremental, the bioregion-scale learning that the adaptive plans would pro- duce is likely to lead to more substantial change over the next several decades. The proposed strategy also becomes more compelling as salmon abundances decline, in that bioregions that fail to act are more likely to face petitions under circumstances not of their own choosing. By increasing the incentive to act on behalf of salmon populations, institutional mechanisms can play a role that is more constructive than the protective but conflicted stance of those institutions today. Preemptive recovery plans seek a better biological result for salmon, but that intent could be undermined by people with divided interests. For example, the 1987 Timber, Fish, and Wildlife agreement in Washington's state-regulated and managed forests had the active support of the environmental community initially, but nongovernment participants found themselves overwhelmed by the volume of regulatory work (Halbert and Lee 19903. It took several years of learning and friction to reach a practicable mode of operation (Pinkerton 19921. Given the
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INSTITUTIONAL ANALYSIS 345 mistrust and conflict that are the legacy of the decline of salmon in the Pacific Northwest, it is essential that all parties potentially involved understand that a preemptive recovery plan is a negotiated settlement among parties with different goals (see Lee 1993a: 104-1 131. Indeed, in this respect, the proposal has much in common with habitat conservation plans (HCPs), which are required by Section 10 of the ESA (added in amendments to the act in 1982) of private parties who seek a permit for "incidental take" of listed species (NRC l995b). Like the preemptive recovery plans proposed here, HCPs are negotiated settlements; but HCP negotiations potentially involve fewer parties and their basis might be slightly narrower i.e., the right to use some habitat for purposes other than conservation in exchange for setting other habitat aside for conservation.3 A recovery plan is an experiment, not a guaranteed recipe for rebuilding salmon populations; there are no guaranteed recipes. The experimental character of adaptive management requires continuing vigilance by all parties involved in implementing a plan. The spatial and temporal scales of human actions aimed at rehabilitating salmon need to match the large range of spatial, temporal, and biological scales of salmon populations. The committee's recommendation builds in these scales of action. Meshing the biological requirements with the institu- tional rules by which human disagreements are addressed will not be easy. We have proposed, for example, that once a recovery plan covering a 20-year period is adopted only clear evidence that warrants emergency action under the ESA would be accepted as grounds for reopening the plan's contractual obligations. As knowledge accumulates about what salmon need from the habitat, recovery plans already in force might become outmoded, just as the wholesale use of hatcheries to replace lost habitat now seems counterproductive. Yet unless the experimental arrangements embodied in a recovery plan are given time enough to work and perhaps to fail, we will never accumulate reliable knowledge of what does and does not make a difference. It is the duty of government agencies like NMFS, charged with the legal responsibility to protect the nation's interest in endangered species, to persevere in the face of political turbulence so that reliable knowledge of species and ecosystems under pressure can be gained. Independent scientific advice can be of considerable value in testing administrative judgments, as discussed in Chapter 14, but advice informs rather than substitutes for political courage. How much political courage is needed depends heavily on how effective a cooperative man- agement alliance is built during the formulation of the recovery plan. Given the need to act on a bioregional scale so that human actions can take into account the 3See Thornton (1991, especially pages 639-652) for a thoughtful discussion of habitat conserva- tion plans under the Endangered Species Act similar in direction to the one we provide here. Region- ally based, negotiated approaches to conservation plans were also endorsed by a recent National Research Council report on the Endangered Species Act (NRC l995b).
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346 UPSTREAM: SALMON AND SOCIETY IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST needs of salmon throughout their ranges, cooperative management is more likely to succeed when there are social, political, and economic ties that reinforce action on the bioregional scale. The human, social underpinnings of a recovery plan need to be considered as an important variable from the outset (see McCay and Acheson 1987~; salmon rehabilitation is social action. A few subbasins in the Pacific Northwest appear to offer particular promise for implementing the approach described above. Some examples follow; these are based on committee members' experiences, not on a systematic review, and they are not intended to exclude any area not mentioned. Columbia River System Yakima River, Washington Attempts are already under way to rebuild salmon populations in the Yakima basin. Most of the upper Yakima falls within the boundaries of either the national forest system (Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie, Gifford Pinchot) or the Yakima reserva- tion. The lower part of the basin contains large agricultural areas (apples, alfalfa, hops, etc.) and rangeland. There is an effort to develop a basin-management plan for salmon restoration with at least most of the key participants e.g., tribal, federal, state, and private- involved. Grande Ronde River, Oregon The Grande Ronde was one of two subbasins identified as pilot areas for the Oregon Governor's Watershed Restoration Initiative. The USFS and BLM have also spent considerable resources on analysis of habitat in the Grande Ronde River Basin. An interagency restoration group has already been formed; as in the case of the Yakima River Basin, local planning has already begun. Most of the Grande Ronde watershed is in federal ownership although there are some impor- tant private landowners along the river. This subbasin contains ESA-listed chinook. McKenzie River, Oregon The McKenzie River flows into the Willamette River at Eugene, Oregon, and is the focus of much political attention. The adjacent land includes large areas of USFS and BLM forests and some substantial wilderness areas, but there are sizable tracts of private forest land and agricultural and urban development. Spotted owls abound along the McKenzie River, which might place some con- straints on adaptive management. The Pacific Rivers Council (based in Eugene) is trying to form a local basin coalition (Eugene Water and Electric Board and Lane County 1992~.
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INSTITUTIONAL ANALYSIS Coos Bay, Oregon 347 Coastal Streams and Estuaries The other basin identified for local cooperative planning by the Oregon Governor's Watershed Restoration Initiative (and hence an officially sanctioned mandate to do bioregional adaptive management), Coos Bay is typical of coastal watersheds in Oregon and Washington. Headwaters are in private forests, and lowlands are in agricultural and urban areas. There is considerable political support for restoration here (CooIey and Heikkila 1994~. Rogue River, Oregon The Rogue River, a large and scenic river in southern Oregon, is unusual among large coastal streams of the region in that it has only one major impound- ment (Lost Creek Reservoir), and that one is very near the reveres source. The river has been designated a wild and scenic river and is the subject of substantial recreational fishing and tourism. Biologically and physically, the basin-which includes federal, state, and private land is of great actual and potential value as a salmon-production area. Willapa Bay, Washington Willapa Bay is potentially a huge salmon-production area if natural produc- tion processes are allowed to operate (Chapter 2~. The Willapa Alliance has an effort, though somewhat frail, to get the bioregional planning process started. Nisqually River, Washington Near the southern tip of Puget Sound, the Nisqually suffers from most woes except a large urban center. The Fort Lewis military reservation, which owns a large section of the Nisqually, is making serious attempts to conduct environmen- tal planning. The Nisqually River Council, along with the Nisqually Tribe and other landowners, forged a local coalition to develop and implement salmon restoration strategies. This basin could show some substantial gains if attention were paid to restoring floodplain connections and a more natural flow regime and if policies regarding hatcheries and fishing in the area were adapted successfully to rehabilitation.
Representative terms from entire chapter: