Level of Trust in Key Actors

The first question in this battery, which reveals key differences in outcome between the Methow Valley and Walla Walla Basin, asks: "How much trust do you have in the information provided by the major actors involved in the process of developing an agreement for salmon recovery under the ESA?" (see Table 19.9).

In the Methow Valley case there exists a distinct insider/outsider perspective, with resource agencies seen as "interfering" outsiders. The regulatory approach adopted here seems to have significantly exacerbated this dynamic and the underlying issues present became highly polarized. Unlike the Walla Walla Basin, in the Methow Valley there is virtually no uncertainty on these issues;

Table 19.10 Walla Walla: Trust in Major Actors

High (%)

Uncertain (%)

Low (%)

Washington state department offish and

44

33

23

wildlife (WDFW)

Local WDFW officers

44

37

19

USFWS

38

35

27

Bonneville power administration (BPA)

35

43

22

Local irrigators

34

40

26

National marine fisheries service (NMFS)

29

41

30

County commissioners

28

42

30

WA. department of ecology

27

37

36

Watershed council

25

56

19

Environmental groups

14

30

56

Trust in major actors listed in descending order.

Trust in major actors listed in descending order.

people have taken sides in the dispute. However, local WDFW officers living within the community are considered to be "insiders." One key to understanding the Methow Valley case is that locally-based state Fish and Wildlife officers can become highly effective conduits for the development and implementation of community-oriented problem solving strategies.

In clear contrast with the observations from the Methow Valley, a state resource agency WDFW and its field officers located in the area held the highest level of trust among the major actors involved in multi-agency negotiations in the Walla Walla case, followed by a federal regulatory agency, the USFWS. (See Table 19.10).

Rather than polarizing the population, the issues and method by which they were addressed seem to have left a large percentage of the population without clearly formed opinions. Those who have formed such opinions view the regulatory agencies and their agents in a much more favorable light than was evident in the Methow Valley case.

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