Environmental Management

, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 677–691 | Cite as

Resolving Conflict and Building Cooperation in the National Estuary Program



Since its beginning in 1987, researchers and policymakers have touted the US Environmental Protection Agency National Estuary program (NEP) as one of the leading examples of collaborative institutions designed to resolve conflict and build cooperation at the watershed level. Using the NEP as an example, I summarize the advantages and disadvantages of collaborative institutions. Using data gathered from focused surveys of policy elites in 22 estuaries, I estimate statistical models that show the NEP does a better job of resolving conflict and building project-level cooperation than similar estuaries without the NEP. I also describe the activities of the NEP mentioned by respondents as contributing to this outcome.


Cooperation Conflict Watershed management Estuary Environmental policy 



Collection of survey data for this project was supported by NSF grant SBR9729505 and NSF/EPA grant SBR9815473. I wish to thank the other members of the research team, John Scholz and Mark Schneider, for valuable assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science and PolicyUniversity of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616USA

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