Who watches whom when consulting around farmers and fish in communities and watersheds in the Walla Walla Basin: Scale breaks and what to measure.
McCormick, Ronald*,1, Brandner, Thomas2, 1 Sokio Systems, Federal Way, WA, USA2 Edgewood College, Madison, WI, USA
ABSTRACT- In Beyond Civilization Daniel Quinn closes with two statements on mental models: Old minds think, How do we solve these problems? New minds think, How do we make happen what we want to happen? Modern consultancy, placed somewhere between reductionist and post-normal science, typically looks to solve problems in the short term, and not ask long term questions. Using what worked before, we apply an old model, perhaps tweaked a bit, to a new situation, delaying making happen what your client needs to happen. However, this satisfies the client because their only knowledge of the problem remains couched in the thinking that originally created it. Further, the consultant has little incentive to point out the long term solution, because there is money to be made in prolonging the problem. Oncorhynchus salmonids essentially are a weedy species in Pacific Northwest watersheds. More than 150 years of land use management specifically designed to eliminate habitat for these fish has not resulted in their regional extinction. Early efforts to manage salmonid stocks involved the mixing of genotypes from distant basins, reducing fish to egg delivery mechanisms in the hatchery machinery. These fish-out-of-their-native-waters contained enough genetic memory to read their new landscape and implement a plan to occupy it, using tactics and strategies acquired over millennia of ecological filtering. PNW salmonids have a complex set of behaviors that switch between high gain and low gain strategies in response to local conditions. Europeans that came into these same basins employed primarily high gain tactics, with limited resiliency to ecological variation. Highly wasteful dissipation of the excess energy (water) in the Walla Walla system has brought matters between humans and fish to the forefront. Human residents of the basin need to switch over to a more complex, low gain strategy of land occupation. Numerous consultant-led planning efforts in the basin ostensibly sought that end, but failed. We will explore the specific case of fish and farmers, communities and watersheds in the Walla Walla Basin, and how one set of consultants, asking How do we make happen what we want to happen? changed the focus of a basin-wide monitoring program in scale and type, qualitatively elevating the discourse from counting fish to watching humans.
Key words: consulting, monitoring, land use, communities
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