Case description (read more)
The Applegate Partnership is a community-based project involving industry, conservation groups, natural resource agencies, and residents cooperating to encourage and facilitate the use of natural resource principles that promote ecosystem health and diversity.
Through community involvement and education, this partnership supports management of all land within the watershed in a manner that sustains natural resources and that will, in turn, contribute to economic and community stability within the Applegate Valley.
- To make the Applegate Watershed a demonstration site for ecologically and financially responsible resource management through community-based planning.
- To provide leadership in facilitating the use of natural resource principles that promote ecosystem health and natural diversity.
- To work with public land managers, private landowners, and community members to promote projects, which demonstrate ecologically sound management practices within the watershed.
- To seek support for these projects through community involvement and education.
Year of initiation
What is fostering progress? (read more)
- One major factor fostering progress is the group’s focus on people and interests, not on affiliation and positions: "the Partnership isn’t as much about issues as it is about relationships."
- Relationships are made stronger by the involvement of dedicated, energetic, and competent people,“we have passionate people who are committed and conversant in natural resource problem solving can make a powerful engine of force.”
- Ten years of visible accomplishments has inspired members with opposing views to continue to participate in Partnership meetings and to strive to reach consensus on contentious issues.
- Urgent issues have also fostered commitment to the Partnership: in less than a year the group was able to raise funds and develop a watershed-wide community fire plan with guidance for and input from dozens of agencies, organizations, and neighborhoods in the valley.
What challenges were faced and how were they overcome? (read more)
A lack of experience with collaboration; however, when faced with a significant challenge that might fracture the group, members continue to work to resolve it, being driven by an internal belief that they are better off working together than apart.
- Consensus decision-making has both benefited and challenged the group. It has given board members veto power over group proposals, which has strengthened the group’s resolve to seek common ground and has inspired creative problem solving.
- Another challenge facing the Applegate Partnership and the AWRC is the need to procure sufficient funds to support ongoing monitoring initiatives.
- Continuity in the Partnership has been difficult to sustain over time. While several key people have been involved in the Partnership since the beginning, there have nonetheless been changes in the culture of the Applegate Valley and membership in the Partnership.
- Perhaps the greatest challenge to group cohesiveness has been integrating the Forest Service and the BLM – the largest landowners in the valley – into the partnership process.
What lessons can be drawn? (read more)
- According to Shipley, a major lesson that can be learned from this partnership is that nurturing relationships over time is essential for success; people can learn to manage conflict constructively if they look beyond disagreements and build upon what they have in common.
- For over a decade, the Partnership has provided a forum to help parties search for common ground, turning conflict into opportunities for creative problem solving. Nurturing relationships not only inspires a spirit of cooperation and creative problem solving, these relationships help parties leverage new opportunities.
- The emphasis on monitoring and evaluation has been critical to show progress, evaluate management decisions and compete for competitive grants for watershed restoration projects.
- The Applegate Partnership provides multiple insights into the potentials and pitfalls of long-term partnerships. Shipley commented, “It was desperation and gridlock that brought us together, but it is trust and respect that keeps us going.”
This site was developed by the Ecosystem Management Initiative through a partnership with the US Forest Service and the US Department of Interior. Read more.