Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science




Sustainable Agriculture

First Advisor

Lois Wright Morton


The co-management of urban natural resources presents a new landscape for natural resource managers as they work with community and civic partners in the urban landscape. Through urban co-management, partners new to working together collaborate to address natural resource problems that they may not otherwise be able to manage on their own. The shift from a traditional, prescriptive model of natural resource management to one incorporating community engagement requires the management of social capital in addition to environmental goals. In this thesis, I analyze the role of social capital using an inductive case study of state and municipal agencies' engagement in a beginning co-management partnership. Social capital is defined as the function of social relationships at both individual and network levels. Co-management is described as an approach to natural resource management in which diverse stakeholders share responsibilities, goals, and decisions. In their work together, these diverse stakeholders may build capacity for further collaboration and success through the creation of social capital throughout the co-management process. What makes the co-management successful is dependent upon the unique situation of the natural resource in question as well as the nature and evolution of the partnerships. Managers and partners can use social planning to address environmental problems collaboratively through a process specific to their own situation.

This case study analyzes a new collaboration among government and community stakeholders in which the government agencies hoped to increase urban residents' understanding of the function and health of their watershed through the creation of new recreational opportunities, thereby improving water quality. The case study findings reveal that emphasizing a process-oriented approach to the planning and evaluation of co-management is central to the building of social capital within a new co-management partnership. Additionally, the case study findings suggest that prioritizing social capital's development within the process of co-management may help partners as they plan and evaluate their program process. From this analysis, two tools have been created to assist co-management partners in the planning of their program. This case study will inform the guidance of future urban fishing programs and be of use to others studying co-management of natural resources through a recreational program initiative.

The thesis is structured as three papers. The first paper (chapter two) presents a synthesis of urban fishing program components and the need for improved evaluation and partnership-building as understood from a co-management approach. The second paper (chapter three) analyzes the role of social capital and trust within a new partnership between agencies as they begin a pilot urban fishing program initiative. The third paper (chapter four) analyzes the potential social capital of watershed resident stakeholders as the urban fishing program partners plan site selection through a social planning framework.


Copyright Owner

Angie L Carter



Date Available


File Format


File Size

44 pages