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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Historical narratives of Big Chico Creek Watershed Alliance and Butte Creek Watershed Conservancy


This study analyzes the histories of two non-governmental watershed organizations in Butte County, California: the Big Chico Creek Watershed Alliance and the Butte Creek Watershed Conservancy. Historical narratives, collected in interviews with current and past staff of these organizations, revealed a series of themes. For Big Chico Creek Watershed Alliance, institutional problems and differences of opinion with public agencies were chronic challenges to attaining watershed goals. Networking, volunteer expertise, local political climate, pressure to engage agencies, and salmon listings emerged as important factors driving the evolution of the organization. For the Butte Creek Watershed Conservancy, the ability to define goals and priorities was influenced by the ability to foster consensus among diverse landowner viewpoints. Also, the structure and availability of funding, community support, and landowner interest are key to the organization’s work.

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