River Conservation

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Creating a more ecological future for the Columbia River Valley

Kai Lee, a critical assessment

Logging along the Columbia River Gorge looking north and east from Oregon to Washington state.


Ecolacy: a dialectic
The challenges of technology and necessity of human dignity.

Technological catalysts

Conceptualizing the conflict over competing resource uses:
Columbia River watershed, "large ecosystems:"

Lee's organizational schema,

Adaptiveness & Urban Planning Myths
The human dimensions in ecological situations

Design suggestions

"O" for organize your thoughts.

Ecolacy: is a dialectic of how to live ecologically well.

Consistent, compatible, and complementary uses have both literate and numerate explanations that must be considered.

But from an ecological perspective on how to live well, what sort of evidence can be used to answer the question "and then what?"

Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River in Washington state.

Great falls on the Yellowstone River; Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

What is it we value in nature: scenic monumentality or a place for other life?

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Criteria Table 1:

then what?

site considerations.

Site analysis

The challenges of technology and necessity of human dignity.

Technology has the ability to catalyze changes, or to speed-up and bring about impacts at an ever increasing rate of speed, to which human's -- or so McHarg and Van der Ryn argue -- are more or less unreliable in their responses to technological affects.

Consider the  affects of automotive transportation, supertankers, electricity, or even fire on human behavior. Compare that to the impacts of these techniques on natural conditions.


Problem Solving Table 2:

Every ecological problem has three dimensions: Physical, Biological, & Social
Dimensions | criteria

Case Study: water transport

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Are large dams on rivers and example of technological catalysts?

Columbia River watershed is a drainage basin that extends into Canada and five states in the Pacific Northwest.

    • Physical, basin for drainage arial sizes, elevations, climate.
    • Biological, biogeographical provinces habitat, species, genetic diversity.
    • Social, urban, rural and wild population, women's status.
How has the Columbia River come to symbolize the conflict between economics and ecology?
What are the economic benefits derived from the river and the watershed?

Describe the ecological value and biologiocal wealth of the Columbia River basin and the ecosystem services derived from these natural assets of the watershed:

What is the reason for needing to discover a more sustainable use of the Columbia River?

Consider several examples of each from the readings with respect to the Columbia River and the mountain ranges that give rise to this vast tibutary system:

Conceptualizing the conflict over competing resource uses:
dimensions features The resources  description sources
Physical, the river:
Biological the fisheries & wildlife:
Social the people, cities, industries:
ecolate and then what?
    Lee. pp. 18-50.

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Columbia River watershed, "large ecosystems:" multi-jurisdictional, international.

Kai Lee's organizational schema, his approach to the basin's ecological problems.

1. learning from the past
2. correcting errors

3. understanding and applying adaptive management

4. participating in bounded conflict

5. devising action plans and assessing the expected outcomes.

There are numerous dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers regulating the flow of water and blocking the migration of wild salmon, once a common upstream fishery in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.

Contrasting Lee's with McHarg's language.
New terms:
 old terms:
Adaptive management 
scientific knowledge
+ Bounded conflict
 + ecological planning
Social Learning 
Ecological vision or imagination


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Adaptiveness & Urban Planning Myths

What does it mean to be adaptive biologically and ecologically?

Table for assessing ways to solve ecological problems:
Dimensions | criteria numerate literate ecolate

example: anadromous fishes.

Salmon require cold clear water in rock bedded streams flowing across numerous acres of forested land for sufficient eggs to grow into fry and from fry into fingerlings or else they will go extinct in their range. They stay close to home streams as young and live in and along the river and tidal estuary habitat as they mature. Salmon spend their adult lives at sea returning to home rivers to spawn from spring to late summer and early fall.

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The human dimensions in ecological situations

Vehicle of ecological services: four wheels: water, energy, air and land drive human civilizations.

habitat human requirements end uses
acronym ecosystem's features importance numerate estimate use for ecosystem service
W water initial necessity; 1 gallon to 5 quarts daily  health, hygiene, electricity
E energy secondary necessity, 2500 calories daily  food, fuel, electricity, transport
A air initial necessity,  55 cubic feet, minutes  combustion, respiration
L land tertiary necessity,  100 - 1000 square feet  functions, forage, storage

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Design suggestions

  • Keep everything on site.
  • Primacy of making all places distinctive.
  • Use less energy, less water and reuse materials.
  • Incorporate ecological accounting over the life-cycle of costs and benefits as reciprocal parts of full cost accounting.
  • Retain obvious and hidden connections to surrounding region or regions.
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Ecosystems and adaptive strategies

Creating a more ecological future
The human dimensions in ecological situations -- Van der Ryn & McHarg
The challenges of technology Lee. pp. 18-50.
Adaptiveness & Urban Planning Myths Lee. pp. 51-86.


Ecolacy: a dialectic
Technological catalysts
Columbia River watershed, "large ecosystems:"
Adaptiveness & Urban Planning Myths
The human dimensions in ecological situations
Lee's organizational schema,