PECS #30: Collaboration in river basin governance

Abstract: We focus on a collaborative approach to study and effect change in river basin governance in the Wolastoq | St. John River Basin in New Brunswick, Canada, which is the traditional unceded territory of the Wəlastəkwiyik / Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet). The Wolastoq | St. John offers a compelling context in which to focus on water governance: from its attempts to allocate water quality assessment authority to sub-watershed groups in the 1980s-2000s to the strong influence of non-governmental groups in water governance. Our research in the basin has spanned more than a decade and has focused primarily on using network-based approaches to study the structure of governance and interactions among those with an interest in water quality and flows. This research has occurred collaboratively, and in partnership using a co-design approach with non-governmental organizations WWF-Canada and the Meduxnekeag River Association. We will share the findings of the research on collaboration over this period and comment on how it has contributed to communication around governance change on the ground.  

Presenter bios:

Bridget McGlynn is a research assistant in the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre, Brock University. She earned her Masters of Sustainability at Brock University investigating collaborative governance in the Wolastoq | St John River Basin. Bridget’s research uses social network analysis to assess the performance and social-ecological fit of collaborative governance arrangements. 

Julia Baird is a Canada Research Chair in Human Dimensions of Water Resources and Water Resilience and an Associate Professor in the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre and the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada – the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishnaabe peoples. Julia’s research focuses on water governance and resilience at the collective and individual levels and she aims for transdisciplinarity in her work. She leads the Water Resilience Lab at Brock, which supports graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. Julia earned her PhD in environmental sustainability from the University of Saskatchewan.