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Assessing Wetland Assessment: The Role of Bureaucratic Networks

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Arnold, Gwen
Conference: Sustaining Commons: Sustaining Our Future, the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Hyderabad, India
Conf. Date: January 10-14
Date: 2011
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/7222
Sector: Land Tenure & Use
Region: North America
Subject(s): wetlands
common pool resources
governance and politics
Abstract: "State-level environmental bureaucrats charged with wetland regulation in the United States struggle to find and use sound tools for evaluating wetland functions and services. Wetlands provide complex, fundamentally non-excludable benefit streams, offering myriad amenities at different geographic and temporal scales. This complexity often frustrates bureaucrats’ attempts to employ tools meant to quantify wetland benefits in a manner that usefully informs regulatory decision-making. Although more than 100 such wetland assessment methodologies exist in the United States, research suggests that state bureaucrats apply these tools to regulatory decisions with marked infrequency. This paper explores the conditions under which sustained, successful implementation of wetland assessment tools by state environmental bureaucracies is more or less likely. Specifically, the paper focuses on state wetland regulators in the United States’s Mid-Atlantic region and examines the influence on sustained, successful implementation exerted by the characteristics of a state bureaucrat’s professional networks and the bureaucrat’s relationships with those networks."

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