OSU This Week: Volume 42, Number 24, April 17, 2003
Monroe wetlands provide lessons for international water experts
A series of wetlands on a ranch near Monroe provided the
backdrop for lessons in private-public environmental partnerships
earlier this week for a group of international river basin experts.
The field trip was part of a workshop titled "Stakeholder Participation
in International River Basins: Models, Successes, and Failures."
The workshop was sponsored by Oregon State University and the Pacific
Institute through a grant from the Carnegie Corporation.
Partnership for Transboundary Waters, an organization based out
of OSU, hosted the workshop along with the Department of Geosciences.
The organization is an international consortium of universities
from five continents that are brought together to raise awareness
and build institutional capacity to address water conflicts at various
The workshop featured commission representatives from the
countries sharing the Lempa and San Juan rivers in Latin America
(Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador) The Okavango River
in southern Africa (Botswana, Namibia, and Angola) and different
basins along the U.S.-Mexican border. OSU faculty from the departments
of Communication, Anthropology, Bioresource Engineering, Sociology,
and Geosciences participated as did specialists from United Nations
University and the University of Zimbabwe.
On Monday, participants
visited a wetlands restoration project in the Muddy Creek watershed.
The international visitors had a chance to learn about Oregonian
initiatives to involve landowners in state and federal environmental
and water quality mandates. The coordinator for the local Mary's
River Watershed Council talked about the Oregon Plan for Salmon
and watersheds and the landowners discussed their specific projects.
Laurie Halsey, one of the landowners, said she was honored to be
part of the workshop. "It's exciting to think that our project may
play a small role in a better understanding of international environmental
issues," she said.
Following the field trip, participants discussed
how to build positive relationships across international borders
to improve the management of shared water courses. They designed
their own "personal action plans" containing a list of important
agencies, organizations, and individuals to involve and invite to
their regional workshops, as well as their goals for incorporating
stakeholder processes within the water basins in which they are