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Wildlife habitat and agricultural commodities: organizing a common property resource in northern Colorado's Phantom Canyon




Epperson, Annie, author
Freeman, David M., advisor
Taylor, Peter Leigh, committee member
Smith, Freeman M., committee member

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Colorado surface water, an intensively-managed common property resource, has been allocated to serve primarily agricultural and municipal needs rather than ecological needs. This thesis inductively explores a case study in which two organizations, a mutual irrigation company (North Poudre Irrigation Company) which distributes common property irrigation water, and an environmental organization (The Nature Conservancy) protecting habitat for fish and wildlife, a collective good, forged a relationship. This organizational arrangement produces instream flows for habitat during fall, winter, and spring months, transcending individual rationality and creating organizational rationality as an agent of social and environmental change. Organizational variables, synthesized from the work of Elinor Ostrom (1990) and David Freeman (1989), are proposed as necessary for the successful creation of social capital in the form of an agreement between the two organizations. Qualitative methods, using in-depth interviews and document review, showed that the expected organizational variables were indeed present. Clear boundaries, equitable rules, and local control, were shown to contribute to the social construction of the agreement which resulted in the provision of a new good, with properties of both a collective good and a common property resource.


Department Head: Louis E. Swanson.
2001 Summer.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 101-107).

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