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Social Infrastructure to Integrate Science and Practice: the Experience of the Long Tom Watershed Council

Rebecca L Flitcroft, USDA Forest Service
Dana C Dedrick, Long Tom Watershed Council Executive Director
Courtland L Smith, Department of Anthropology, Oregon State University
Cynthia A Thieman, Long Tom Watershed Council Restoration Director
John P Bolte, Department of Biological and Ecological Engineering, Oregon State University


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Ecological problem solving requires a flexible social infrastructure that can incorporate scientific insights and adapt to changing conditions. As applied to watershed management, social infrastructure includes mechanisms to design, carry out, evaluate, and modify plans for resource protection or restoration. Efforts to apply the best science will not bring anticipated results without the appropriate social infrastructure. For the Long Tom Watershed Council, social infrastructure includes a management structure, membership, vision, priorities, partners, resources, and the acquisition of scientific knowledge, as well as the communication with and education of people associated with and affected by actions to protect and restore the watershed. Key to integrating science and practice is keeping science in the loop, using data collection as an outreach tool, and the Long Tom Watershed Councilís subwatershed enhancement program approach. Resulting from these methods are ecological leadership, restoration projects, and partnerships that catalyze landscape-level change.

Key words

habitat restoration; Oregon; science and practice; social infrastructure; watershed management; water quality; watershed councils; watershed organizations

Copyright © 2009 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087