First Advisor

Alida Cantor

Term of Graduation

Spring 2021

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Geography






Water-supply -- Oregon -- Deschutes River Watershed -- Management, Natural resources -- Co-management -- Oregon -- Deschutes River Watershed



Physical Description

1 online resource (vii, 95 pages)


In 2019, a coalition of irrigation districts in central Oregon's Deschutes Basin submitted the Deschutes Basin Habitat Conservation Plan to the US Department of Fish and Wildlife. This Habitat Conservation Plan purported to have been constructed through a collaborative governance structure between the irrigation districts and various community stakeholders who all had interests in basin management, however segments of the Basin's river recreation community began to raise concerns that their voices were not included. The purpose of this research was to investigate how stakeholder status in the Deschutes Basin is created through collaborative water governance processes like development of the Habitat Conservation Plan, and what role competing senses of place might have in this process. To explore these questions, I conducted 15 semi-structured interviews were conducted with irrigation district representatives, government officials, NGO representatives, recreation industry professionals and others involved with collaborative water governance in the region. Stakeholder status in Deschutes Basin water collaboratives appears to be a two-step, "Interest-Action" process where a community group first must demonstrate a property interest in the management of the Basin's water, and then successfully participate in collaborative efforts while navigating political, material and place-based obstacles to participation. The assertion of property interests appears to be strongly tied to a community group's normative place-meanings of the Deschutes Basin, and differing senses of place also appeared to mediate a group's willingness and motivation to participate in collaborative efforts. The important role that geography places in both phases of this process highlights the important role that geographers must play in improving collaborative processes in the future.


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