of River Activist Groups
Clallam County, WA - As anyone who owns property on
the Dungeness River knows, it has become a bureaucratic nightmare to try
and get the proper permits to work in - or even close to - the river.
At times of high water, this can spell disaster for the owner
trying to protect his property.
Things were not always this way. Not too many years ago, property owners along the river took
whatever action was necessary to protect their homes and land and keep
the river in a single channel where it belonged.
A bulldozer working in the river here did not seem to impact the abundant fish runs of all native
In the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, government
began to creep more into control of not only what went on along the
Dungeness River, but our lives in general.
Property owners groups have been formed and battles have been
fought with the ever-increasing array of bureaucratic regulators; mostly
over whether or not proper permits were obtained before taking action to
save one’s home or property during flooding.
In 1986, an owners’ group - Dungeness River
Property Owners Association -was
formed as frustration over the inability to protect one’s property ran
high. That very same
winter, the unruly river claimed several more homes.
The Property Owner’s Association was fairly
active for several years, assisting in permitting for gravel removal at
several locations and instrumental in the county securing property above
the highway to create their own gravel trap.
In 1988, County Commissioner Dave Cameron, prompted
by the rising tide of owner concerns, created the Dungeness River
Management Team (DRMT). Meeting
were held at the Jamestown Tribal center from the onset, and the
majority of its ten members represented government agencies.(1)
It may have been a good idea back then, but the
desired intent of cooperation and representation has been lost somewhere
along the way. From the
start, much posturing, jockeying for position, and boring rhetoric of
studies past, present and future disappointed the non-regulatory
representatives and their participation waned.
The Tribe assumed more and more control with their
bank of grant writers constantly plugging into the government coffers to
fund more studies and “feel good” meaningless projects on the river.
The actual condition of the river and its fishery continued to
During early 1981, the Team was replaced by the
Dungeness/Quilcene pilot project under the Chelan Process.
The Chelan Agreement was the outcome of a meeting among Tribal,
big business, environmental, and government representatives held at a
resort on Lake Chelan, under the auspices of the Northwest Renewable
Resources Center (NRRC)(2), partially funded by Clallam County.
Its purpose was to establish new water rights
If the Chelan Agreement became law, it would have
restored to the big businesses, Tribes, state government and
environmental groups many of the power which they lost when the U.S.
Supreme Court overturned the water-rights and habitat portions o the
Boldt II decision. (3)
During the Gardner (4) administration, the
legislature established two pilot projects based on this agreement: one
in the Methow Valley, the other in the Dungeness/Quilcene Basins.
Two years later, another new law (5) allowed the
use of the consensus process in pilot projects to develop Washington
The two pilot projects dovetail with this new
rule-making process to provide a mechanism for establishing the Chelan
Agreement by rule, state-wide.
The consensus process was first introduced into the
public arena in this state by the NRRC (6).
It involves the use of the techniques of “group dynamics”
(7). These techniques were
intended to improve control over the labor force, and have been
demonstrated to out-perform the traditional command or lecture
approaches to fostering labor’s acceptance of change. (8)
Among these methods are the ones which J. Edwards Demming
introduced into Japan under the name, “Total Quality Management” (TQM).
Ideally, they should be applied without a secret
agenda, but when the facilitator pursues one, they can constitute
They were adopted by Communist China as their
primary form of governance. (9) China
is a democracy, but public opinion is controlled through the use of
these techniques in consensus groups in the workplaces and communities.
The Dungeness/Quilcene (D/Q) pilot project was led
by the Tribe and funded by a grant of $600,000 from the legislature.
They produced the Dungeness River Management Plan, and the
Dungeness/Quilcene Water Resources Management Plan, but they didn’t
complete their rule-making on water rights before their sunset date of
1995. The House, by then
under the control of the Republicans, didn’t extend their funding.
The state Department of Ecology (DOE), however,
provided funding, and Clallam County reactivated the DRMT (10) to
continue the process.
As may be expected, the plans which they developed
– and which they are now implementing – appear to have been more
politically motivated than sound in terms of either hydraulics or
The river continued to deteriorate, and the floods
of late 1995 prompted several residents to take action to save their
property. The Team appears
to have coordinated the prosecution (11) of these property owners, and
threatened them with huge fines. The
property owners eventually prevailed in both cases, after considerable
During 1996, several citizens, including Steve
Marble, Keith Winter and Dr. Bob Crittenden began working in unison to
stop their rule-making and to get them to allow effective public
participation. The results
were that rule-making was temporarily stopped until it moved outside the
Team during the fall of 1996; and the Team was also restructured during
the mid-summer, but only to further reduce citizen influence.(12)
In response, during September 1996, Dr. Crittenden
formed the Dungeness Valley Association (DVA).
It drew together many of the same individuals who had formed the
Dungeness River Property Owners Association ten years earlier.
Their objectives were to protect property and the environment
through the establishment of a set of permanent permits or exemptions
which would allow the property owners to maintain their own property,
and to form a watershed council in which the decision power would reside
with representatives elected by the property owners and other interested
parties in the drainage basin.
Clallam County Resolution 46 signed Feb. 16, 1988 by Lawrence Gaydeski,
Dorothy Duncan and Dave Cameron. The
following groups had seats on the Team:
Property owners, Irrigation Districts and Companies, Dungeness
Flood Control Advisory Board, a Sportsman’s group, Washington State
Department of Fisheries, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Soil
Conservation Service, Washington State Department of Ecology,
Point-No-Point Treaty Council, and Clallam County.
(2 ) The NRRS represents big business, tribes and environmental groups. M.E. Fraidenburg (1989 The Northwest Environmental Journal 5: 211-240) analyzed its board of directors and concluded that Burlington Northern and Weyerhaeuser Company form its controlling interest group. James Waldo is their chairman, and Dan Evans, William Ruckleshaus, Joe DeLaCruz, William R. Hearst II, Katherine Fletcher, Jerry Pavletich, and Mel Tonasket are among the better known individuals who have served as their board members. This coalition was formed over the Boldt II decision.
US v Washington 694 F.3d 1374 (1982). This is the citation for the final
Supreme Court ruling.
Governor Booth Gardner is the stepson of Norton Clapp, the principal owner of
Weyerhaeuser Company. See A study
of Weyerhaeuser as a multinational corporation. Evergreen State College. June
34.05.310 and .313; Laws of 1993 C202
it in 1984 to reach the Salmon Co-management Agreement (under WDF personal
services contract 1350), which specifies that the Tribes and Department of
Fisheries will co-manage the salmon fishery; they used it to develop in the
Timber, Fish and Wildlife Agreement, which specifies that a team with a big
timber, tribal and environmental representative can waive restrictions on timber
cuts, such as setbacks from streams, after a field inspection; and they used it
to develop the Chelan Agreement.
They were pioneered by Kurt Lewin during the 1930’s at the University
of Iowa and later at MIT. For
example, see his “A Dynamic Theory of Personality 1935; Frontiers in Group
Dynamics 1947; Group Decision and Social Change 1947; and Resolving Social
Conflicts 1948. Major research
programs followed at the Research Center for Group Dynamics at MIT; the National
Training Laboratory, Institute for Applied Behavioral Sciences, in Bethel,
Maine; the Travistock Institute of Human Relations, in England; and the
University of Michigan’s Research Center for Group Dynamics.
See Coch and French (1948) and Levine and Butler (1952)
See Lindblom 1977. Politics
and Markets, Basic Books Inc, NY
Clallam County Resolution
104 signed May 30, 1995 by commissioners Dorothy Duncan, Dave Cameron and Phil
Kitchel and the corresponding tribal resolution 44-95 was passed by the Tribal
Council the following day. The Team
has 12 representatives: Clallam County, Jamestown s’Klallam Tribe, Property
Owners, Dungeness River Agricultural Water Users Association; Sport Fishers,
Washington Dept. of fish and Wildlife, Washington Dept. of Ecology, US Fish and
Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, Clallam County Planning Commission, Clallam
County Critical Areas Committee, Watershed/Dungeness-Quilcene planning.
On Dec. 18, 1995, Commissioner Dave Cameron and Tribal chairman Ron Allen
signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to enlarge the Team by two seats: one
for the Clallam Conservation District and the other for the City of Sequim.
(11)The team does not itself have enforcement powers, but their member agencies do, and they coordinate their actions through the Interagency Coordination Act.
(12)The Team became self-appointing, instead of its members being appointed b the Region 1 commissioner and Tribal chairman. It also changed from making decisions unanimously ton only requiring a 75% majority. This removed the veto from individual DRMT members.