Asplen, L. 2002. Ecological Restoration in Theory and Practice:  The Discourse of Salmon Habitat Policy in the Cedar River of Washington State. Master's Thesis, School of Marine Affairs, University of Washington, Seattle.


A wide range of policies and projects espousing vastly different goals and employing divergent tools and techniques have been grouped under the heading of “ecological restoration.”  The plasticity of the term, a characteristic that can make it attractive politically, complicates the analysis of the values and intended outcomes and makes it difficult to determine what exactly is intended when the concept is invoked.  The purpose of this project is to review restoration as it is used and understood in both theory and practice.  Discourse, defined here as the language, values, and perceived meanings associated with a concept, offers a powerful framework by which to conceptualize and evaluate the broader practical implications of accepting and employing ecological restoration strategies.  First, I explore the definitions that have been offered by multiple disciplines for the appropriate model of ecological restoration, tracking areas of both philosophical consensus and tension.  Next, through a case study analysis of salmon habitat projects in the Cedar River of Washington State, I identify and explore the underlying themes and inconsistencies that arise between the use of restoration as an academic concept and as a public policy tool for achieving social ends.  After coding and comparing 192 project proposals, I find that “ecological restoration” in practice reflects the broad array of diverse goals and activities conceived in the academic literature and that different restoration projects are selected or adapted based on the needs and purposes of different institutions and policies.

Daily, M. 2002. Cumulative Effects Regulation and Management in the Lower Cedar River:  Evaluation and Potential Changes. Master's Thesis, School of Urban Planning, University of Washington, Seattle.


        The lower Cedar River watershed in King County, Washington has experienced intensified human development pressure in recent decades, which has led to increased cumulative environmental impacts.  King County has expressed their goal to protect and restore the aquatic resources in the watershed.  Yet, cumulative effects (CE’s) may compromise their ability to do so.
        This thesis examines the nature of CE regulation and management in the lower Cedar River.  There are four primary purposes of this research.  The first is to formulate a set of criteria that can be used to evaluate the adequacy of cumulative effects analysis.  Second, is to identify the cumulative effects consideration mandates in development regulations for the lower Cedar River watershed.  Third, is to evaluate the adequacy of CE analyses in the environmental documentation prepared for Cedar River projects.  Finally this thesis suggests regulatory and management changes that could lead to better CE management.
Based upon the literature, this study identifies nine primary components that are used as criteria for evaluating the adequacy of CE analyses.  These criteria are used to evaluate the adequacy of CE analyses contained in the environmental literature prepared for projects in the Cedar River watershed.
        This study finds that there is a rather strong legal mandate for the consideration of CEs.  Laws such as the National Environmental Policy Act, the Washington Stated Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), and King County planning policies, which explicitly state that cumulative effects must be considered in the environmental documentation prepared for project approvals.
        However, using the criteria established by the literature this research finds that CE analyses for lower Cedar River projects are not being adequately conducted.  Only 19 of the 41 projects reviewed included any discussion of potential cumulative impacts and none of the analyses reviewed met minimum scores for adequacy, as defined by the literature.
        Thus, this thesis suggests a King County led CE management program that would utilize both planning and analytical methods to address cumulative environmental impacts.  The program would include focus groups, a land suitability model, a modified SEPA checklist, and enactment of a long-term monitoring program within the lower Cedar River.

Hall, J.  2002.  Restoration of Salmon Habitats in Floodplains of the Cedar River, Washington.  Master's Thesis,  School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle.

McCracken, H.S. 2000. Institutional Relationships Guiding Salmon Habitat Protection and Restoration in the Cedar River of Washington State. Master's Thesis, School of Marine Affairs, University of Washington, Seattle.


      The listing of Puget Sound Chinook (Oncorhynchus tschawytsha) and bull trout (Salveluinus confluentus) in 1999 have been the largest drivers of large-scale multi-jurisdictional salmon recovery strategies in Washington State to date. A large component of these strategies, the management of riparian salmon habitat, necessitates cooperation and collaboration between groups with varying mission, priorities and mandates from the distinct arenas of fishery management, surface water management, groundwater management, land use management, and flood control. This thesis analyzes these institutional relationships in the context of the Cedar River of Washington State with an analytical tool crafted by Elinor Ostrom called the “Institutional Analysis and Development Framework,” and “elite interviews” of politician, coordinators, project implementers and citizen activists. New institutions and redefined institutional relationships are having a great effect on the quality and quantity of riparian salmon habitat projects in the Cedar River, which is valued for its salmon populations and habitat. Decision-makers are limited by mandates, jurisdictions, constituencies, and biophysical variables, which has led to a lack of a central vision to recover salmon through habitat protection and/or restoration, and poor coordination at the implementation level.
        The analysis reveals: 1) Ad hoc salmon habitat restoration projects that do not trigger the Endangered Species Act are more likely to be implemented than those subjected to a prioritization scheme; 2) Habitat acquisition projects are favored over restoration projects, especially in areas with high community support and low federal involvement; 3) Salmon habitat protection and restoration projects are being implemented based more on their feasibility than on the priority within the region  or the recover of salmon; 4) Efforts to protect/restore salmon habitat are moving towards species-specific management strategies, and away from ecosystem management. Despite the poor coordination and lack of adherence to overall prioritization schemes, Washington State has done remarkably well within the “salmon habitat arena.” The people of Washington State are learning about the causes of salmonid declines, the habitat needs of the salmonids, and the plausible recovery actions. The next step is for Washington State to learn how to better integrate its social goals and salmon recovery goals.

Montgomery, M. 2003. Perceptions and Opinions Related to Restoration and Protection of the Lower Cedar River, King County, Washington. Master's Thesis, School of Marine Affairs, University of Washington, Seattle.


          Like many rivers with both urban and rural interfaces, the Cedar River (King County, Washington) has a wide variety of stakeholders with different visions for the river.  River restoration is under active discussion by the Cedar River Council because past and present land use, fishing, and water withdrawals have dramatically altered the landscape from its historical state while fish populations have declined, much wildlife habitat and hydraulic connectivity has been lost and flooding continues to occur.  Yet with the upper two thirds of the river protected from development and logging under a Habitat Conservation Plan, the water quality high and the river serving as an accessible source of quality recreation for many, this river and its watershed could be considered to be in very good shape.
          Given that there are multiple visions for the river and different potential perceptions of river health, a survey was designed to gain an understanding of how riparian property owners and other interested parties perceive the health of the river, what they think are the major problems facing the river and how they rank the effectiveness and acceptability of different types of restoration actions.  This survey was sent to property owners along the Cedar River and its tributaries as well as to the mailing list for the Cedar River Council meetings (which included both Council members and observers) and to the WRIA (Watershed Resource Inventory Area) 8 Steering Committee members and alternates.  The overall response rate was 50.6%.  Based on the first order statistical analysis presented in this thesis the following initial conclusions are drawn.  Respondents indicated a perceived decline in river health.  They cited mixed causes for the decline.
They endorsed support for land purchase and protection and active restoration strategies.  Differences in responses from riparian property owners as compared to other interested parties included the strength of their views on the decline of river health and the factors they considered to be the most important contributors to a decline, however further (ongoing) analysis is necessary to verify the validity of these conclusions.