Organizational culture as an independent variable developing a

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Organizational culture as an independent variable developing a Powered By Docstoc
					Evaluating the effect of federal agency culture,
structure, and history on institutional performance
(1) PhD student, Department of Resources Management, University of Alaska Fairbanks. (2) Resilience
and Adaptation Fellow. UAF PO Box 751121 Fairbanks, AK 99775-1121 USA

Abstract. Since 1994, federal agencies have been directed to develop co-management
institutions for regulating aboriginal marine mammal hunting in Alaska. Many
researchers have investigated the role of local community self-organization in the success
of co-management institutions but few have studied federal capacities to engage in the
same institutions. This paper describes an approach to examining how organizational
culture, structure, and history affect the performance of federal agencies in marine
mammal co-management regimes in Alaska. The author compares the National Marine
Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in their participation in bowhead
whale and polar bear co-management institutions, respectively. Despite being guided by
the same federal policies regarding marine mammal conservation, the agencies’
implementation of and active involvement in co-management has been different in terms
of how they develop collaborative agreements, for what purposes, and the structure of
forums for interaction between staff and user communities; thus, these two agencies
provide a unique basis for an examination of institutional performance using
organizational attributes as key variables. Agency culture is an institutional driver that
has not been adequately addressed in the literature of resource regimes. Using the
Institutional Analysis and Development framework developed by Ostrom et al. (1994),
agency culture can be conceptualized as an attribute of community and therefore, a driver
shaping the action arena --in this case, marine mammal management in Alaska. In the
IAD model the patterns of interaction produced by the action arena affect the outcome
and institutional performance. My research approach builds upon this work by
empirically measuring and comparing the patterns of interactions produced in the action
arena through a network analysis of communication between actors and investigating
agency culture as a key driver shaping these patterns.

Since 1994, federal agencies responsible for marine mammal management in Alaska have
been directed by law to develop co-management agreements with Alaska Native hunters
who harvest seals, polar bears, walrus, whales and other marine mammals. While
researchers have investigated the role of local community self-organization in the success
of co-management institutions, few have studied the willingness and ability of federal
agencies to engage in the process of co-managing (but see Pomeroy and Berkes 1997).
Top-down enforcement heavy approaches to wildlife conservation in Alaska have
engendered wide-spread resistance and have not been effective in addressing subsistence
harvest issues (Spader 2000). With dwindling federal funds for wildlife conservation and
several marine mammal populations on the cusp of endangered status, decentralized co-

management reliant on local knowledge and enforcement is likely to become a principal
tool of management by necessity. In order to examine the effects of organizational
culture, structure and history on management performance, this study compares networks
of communication formed by two separate federal agencies during co-management
processes. The described approach stems from my doctoral dissertation project in

Agency culture is an institutional driver that has not been adequately addressed in the
literature of resource regimes. The Institutional Analysis and Development framework
developed by (Ostrom, Gardner et al. 1994) helps one to map and understand how users
of common-property resources build resource management regimes that enhance shared
understandings of the resource and create incentives for compliance to rules limiting use
of scarce resources. Agency culture can be conceptualized as a key factor affecting
actors’ motivations to collaborate and therefore, a driver shaping the policy arena – in
this case, marine mammals management in Alaska. In the IAD model the patterns of
interaction produced by the policy arena affect the outcome and institutional
performance. My research builds upon this work by documenting patterns of interactions
among actors produced in the arena and investigating agency culture as a key driver
shaping these patterns.

In order to understand cultural influences on communications, I define agency culture as
the identity, values and norms governing behavior of agency employees, especially as
manifested in external relations with communities in rural Alaska and co-management
boards. Culture in this sense is intrinsically related to bureaucratic structure and agency
history because the breadth and diversity of an agency’s mission affects the extent to
which co-management is prioritized. Historical relationships between agency staff and
Alaska Native communities also influence the likelihood that any federal rules will be
effective, producing a form of path dependency. I hypothesize that culture, structure and
history affect the performance of co-management regimes through shaping, enhancing, or
constraining the networks of interactions between actors in the regime. Furthermore, I
hypothesize that the strength of linkages of actors across scales affects its performance.
Performance of co-management regimes will be evaluated for outputs (policies),
outcomes (changes in behavior) and impacts on the resource of interest (Easton 1965) as
cited in Underdal and Young (2004). These three performance criteria are particularly
important to understand effectiveness on the ground in Northern Alaska. However,
regulatory regimes for marine mammals exist across scales and interact with other
institutions for both commerce and conservation. Analyses of institutional effectiveness,
therefore, must also address larger-scale processes.

Many of the common-pool resources and action arenas investigated under the IAD
framework have been fairly simple, bounded, and small-scale. For marine systems,
characterized by their open and literally fluid boundaries, one must ask what other tools
have been used to analyze institutional performance for larger, migratory or more
complex resource or environmental problems? Young (2002) argues for a research
program examining causal mechanisms of institutional performance. He outlines several
tacts including a focus on institutional drivers and their interaction with other drivers of

ecosystem change. He develops an approach called ―institutional diagnostics‖ which
calls for an effort to identify critical features of specific problems followed by an effort to
specify institutional arrangements best suited to deal with them. Institutional diagnostics,
Young argues, should address three sets of factors critical to performance: fit, interplay,
and scale. Rapid ecological change in the North makes fit a particularly important factor
for addressing the conservation of ice-dependent species as the Northern seas become

The purpose of this paper is to describe an approach to understanding agency culture and
develop propositions regarding the effect of agency culture, structure and history on
marine mammals management in Barrow, Alaska. I begin by exploring the concept of
agency culture and identify problems with trying to apply the concept in the field. In the
second section, I present a methodology useful for building case studies of two resource
regimes at multiple levels of analysis. In the third section I provide historical context for
the cases and illustrate the potential of the approach through brief profiles of co-
management regimes for bowhead whales and polar bears. In the conclusion section I
examine policy indicators of performance for each regime and identify questions for
further analysis.

1. Theories of agency culture
The study of resource management policy and practice is an applied field addressing
interdisciplinary questions and therefore a researcher is able to draw on several different
fields in order to answer questions. Resource management questions involving human
dimensions have been investigated through political science, sociology, history,
anthropology and organizational studies. The idea that a federal bureaucracy could have
a culture that affected its performance streams from responses within sociology to Max
Weber’s theory of bureaucracy. Weber described the ideal type of bureaucracy as one
based on formalized, compartmentalized offices with sharply defined labor rules, fixed
jurisdictions, a clear chain of command and rules of professional conduct to ensure the
consistent, objective application of rules to the governed (Gerth and Mills, 1946, as cited
in Heyman, 2004). Weber’s construction of bureaucracy was highly rational.
Anthropologists (Nader 1972) and organizational sociologists (Perrow 1986) questioned
the rationality of actual bureaucracies in practice and inspired others studying
bureaucracy to conduct studies of bureaucracies using ethnographic methods, to capture
what agencies actually do and compare actions to what they say they do in policy
documents or public statements.

While much of the organizational studies literature has focused on corporate cultures,
Smircich (1983) gives an excellent overview of organizational culture and administrative
studies. Organizational psychologist Edgar Schein remains influential in studies of
organizational culture, focusing on shared patterns of basic assumptions (1986). Many
studies of organizational culture in the resource management literature use an agency’s
reaction to external or internal processes in order to examine cultural understandings
within the agency without empirically measuring cultural traits. For instance, Kennedy
(1986) examines how organizational culture affects socialization of new recruits in the

United States Forest Service (USFS). Kennedy and Quigley (1998) further examine how
USFS culture affects the agency’s ability to adapt to an adopted ecosystem management
paradigm. McBeath (2004) examines the reaction of the National Marine Fisheries
Service to a series of scientific, legal, and judicial pressures and uses these reactions to
explain the agency’s cultural change towards Stellar Sea Lion management.

My approach to organizational culture is consistent with these last two studies. For the
purposes of this paper, I will construct a short cultural profile of each agency based on
agency histories and observations over a year of fieldwork at co-management board
meetings. This approach is also consistent with that recommended by Alvesson (2002)
who cautions against sweeping generalizations of culture, instead recommending an
analysis of ―cultural manifestations‖ of organizations to observe whether or not these
manifestations have consequences for operations. In a later phase of my research, these
observations will be supplemented by a cultural values survey and key informant
interviews with agency staff.

There are, of course, a few challenges to examining agency culture in marine mammal
cases. The first challenge was to gain access to meetings in which rules of the co-
management game are made which structure how the partners will interact, and what the
scope of any co-management agreements will be. In 2004, I completed an internship
with the Indigenous Peoples’ Council for Marine Mammals, an umbrella group
representing a majority of the marine mammal co-management groups. Since then, I
have been invited to observe the two-year revision of a memorandum of understanding
outlining agency authorities to enter into agreements, Alaska Native Organization
authorities to enter into agreements, and a list of components to any new co-management
agreement. A second challenge was to gain access to the co-management action arenas,
such as co-management board meetings. The meetings are not public, and most are not
advertised. I approached several board directors and asked to attend. Eventually, I
presented my research approach to several of them and solicited their participation. I
have been observing four boards for a year. However, many of the most contentious
constitutional arenas are not accessible to anyone other than board members and agency
staff. I will rely on agency and co-management partner interviews in ongoing research in
order to examine how these discussions affect co-management processes. Finally, the
small pool of agency staff involved in marine mammal co-management presents a
challenge in that discretionary acts may represent personal attitudes rather than an agency
cultural response. The analysis of agency patterns across time and the structural elements
that shape agency decisions are helpful here to try and understand cultural versus
individual preferences.

2. Methodology
Using a multiple case-study approach (Yin 1984), the polar bear co-management regime
formed with the US Fish & Wildlife Service is compared to the bowhead whale co-
management regime formed with the National Marine Fisheries Service. My research
takes place at three field sites: the federal agency involved, the co-management board,
and local communities involved in marine mammal subsistence. Throughout the course

of the study, each regime will be described using multiple sources of evidence to
construct a picture of the regime over time including: observation of board meetings,
reviews of documents, a cultural inventory survey to document attributes of federal
agencies, and semi-structured interviews with agencies and resource users. Periodic trips
to Barrow, Alaska during whaling and hunting seasons for participant observation allow
me to contextualize the cases through a focus on resource users acting within the resource

My methodology is informed by the policy network theory of Carlsson (2000) who likens
network analysis to an empirically-based model of collective action. Each regime can be
seen as an interactive network of participants. Through survey methods consistent with
the approach taken by Provan and Milward (1995) investigating both network structure
and outcomes, regime participants are interviewed about their contacts with other
participants, including questions of the frequency and nature of their contact such as via
telephone, in a meeting, community event, etc. as well as the loci of decision-making
(e.g. how many decisions originate from the community level, board level or agency
level). A network analysis maps communication and interaction pathways, and
empirically measures the strength of linkages between partners in the network.
Participant observation at the village level and board level provides an ethnographic
account of co-management in practice. This account allows me to validate content
analysis of bureaucratic files and survey results by contrasting formal policy rules with

In the next phase of the study, I will test the agency culture hypothesis through a
comparative analysis of the two co-management regime structures and operation across
federal agencies. I will examine the organizational history, culture and structure of the
two federal agencies in order to create a cultural profile of each agency. Networks will
be compared within the federal agency family of regimes to identify patterns of behavior
including instances of collective action, predominance of top-down or bottom-up
initiation of communication and action, and frequency of contact. Finally, I will test the
linkage hypothesis through comparing regime network structures to evidence of regime
performance throughout the study period focusing on communication across scales and
management outcomes. A past federal rule-making process or similar policy debate from
each regime will be traced from initiation of the rule to adoption in order to examine
networks in action and evaluate patterns of behavior. The international regimes for
bowhead whale and polar bear conservation will also be evaluated through the IDGEC
analytic theme of the ―fit‖ (Young 2002) between regime processes and ecosystem

3. Marine mammals management in Alaska
3.1 Historical context
The conservation and subsistence harvesting of marine mammals in Alaska are regulated
at many different policy levels, from local traditional rules governing use by Alaska

Native communities, to Tribal ordinances, to federal agency rules and federal
environmental laws such as the US Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, the
Endangered Species Act of 1969, and numerous international treaties. Two federal
agencies, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the US Fish & Wildlife Service, hold
federal management authority over marine mammals. The MMPA was considered an
innovative approach to wildlife management at the time of passage, as it required
agencies to evaluate populations based on an ―optimum sustainable yield‖ versus the
concept of ―maximum sustainable yield‖ concept more familiar to fisheries management.
This change introduced a more conservative management philosophy into wildlife
management, largely acknowledging the significant scientific uncertainties involved in
marine mammal population ecology and marine ecosystem ecology, broadly (Eberhardt
and Siniff 1977).

Marine mammal resource management in Alaska shifted over the past 50 years from a
predominantly local knowledge-based regime to a scientific management system,
culminating in the 1971 Marine Mammal Protection Act, which restricted mammal
harvests only to aboriginal subsistence hunters, and only within a scientific management
system for sustained population. Centralization of resource management often leads to a
shift in the knowledge system used (Berkes 2002). Local knowledge, as well as
institutions based on those knowledge systems, are often undermined in a centralized
system and replaced with governance based on universal ―scientific‖ systems of
knowledge (Berkes 2002). After passage of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the
federal government took over marine mammal management from the state of Alaska,
using incomplete and often erroneous scientific claims as a basis for management actions.
Legitimacy of management actions did not follow, however, and the federal agencies
responsible for marine mammal management found themselves in various conflicts over
newly instituted rules such as the International Whaling Commission moratorium on
aboriginal whaling in 1977 (Freeman 1989).

After a series of crises and lawsuits involving Alaska Native subsistence harvests over a
period of 15 or so years, Congress amended the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1994
and directed the National Marine Fisheries Service and the US Fish & Wildlife Service to
enter into co-management agreements with Alaska Native organizations (Sect. 119) in
order to make government decision-making about marine mammal conservation and
subsistence hunting more responsive to Alaska Native concerns. Although not a major
agenda item, the Alaska Native community was able to gain Congressional support for
this amendment, and change the structure of the relationships of agencies to community
groups from one of uneasy conflict to one of collaboration. The boards to be established
would be eligible for Congressional appropriations, directed to flow through NMFS and

Although some boards such as the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission predate the 1994
amendments, many others were able to form following the policy change without having
to weather crises or other mobilizing events that often precipitate the formation of
community groups. One demand many Alaska Natives had was for managers to
acknowledge traditional ecological knowledge, defined as the body of collected

knowledge held by an indigenous community and developed through long-term,
interaction between the people and their environment. In 1997, the responsive federal
agencies executed a memorandum of agreement with the umbrella interest group,
Indigenous Peoples’ Council for Marine Mammals, detailing the goals, methods, and
means for negotiating Section 119 agreements with Tribes or Tribally-authorized Alaska
Native Organizations (ANOs).

3.2 The community field setting
My community field site is Barrow, Alaska, a large town (population more than 4000) in
Northern Alaska. It is a hub of regional services, including Tribal, local, regional, state
and federal government offices. The town also is the corporate headquarters for the
Arctic Slope Regional Corporation and Ukpeagvik Iňupiat Corporation, both corporate
entities created subsequent to land claims settlement in Alaska. The area is rich in
subsistence wildlife and the town is especially dependent upon the bowhead whale
harvest that takes place twice a year. The area around Barrow comprising the North
Slope Borough and offshore environs is also coveted by transnational oil and gas and
other mineral development companies for its resources. My field season in 2006
overlapped with the fall bowhead whaling harvest, as well as the harvest periods for
caribou and other inland species. Despite the fact that it was whaling season and then the
time when many people in town leave for the yearly Alaska Federation of Natives
meeting, many important meetings relating to resource development occurred while I was
in town. During one particularly hectic week, the community was invited to three open
houses over a period of four days. One was hosted by Shell, one by Conoco Phillips and
the final one was held by the borough to solicit ideas for an upcoming land use planning

Hunters and their families must be saavy when it comes to resource management rules
and regulatory agencies, due to the complexity of resource management regimes in the
North. If one is hunting on land, for instance, he or she must know the property status of
the land he or she is on. If it is owned by a Native corporation, one must be a shareholder
to hunt on it, or otherwise gain permission. The hunting of animals might be regulated by
the State of Alaska, or the Federal Government, depending on property lines. If one is
hunting marine mammals, his or her harvesting is governed by the Marine Mammal
Protection Act and, in some cases, the Endangered Species Act as well as any
international treaty or interlocal agreement that is applicable. In marine mammal
hunting, one must also be an Alaska Native dwelling along the coast in order to legally
hunt or possess marine mammal parts that are not subsequently altered for handicrafts.
After a successful hunt, the hunter must report his or her harvest to the proper authorities.
Bowhead whales are reported through the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission; polar
bears are reported to local taggers authorized to collect data for the Fish & Wildlife

3.3 Profile: The National Marine Fisheries Service and the Alaska
Eskimo Whaling Commission
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is the chief federal agency regulating
both commercial and subsistence-harvested marine animals. This agency has conflicting
missions: the development of a sustainable fishery industry and the protection of
cetaceans and seals, many of whom depend on the same fisheries for food. Moreover,
NMFS's mission in fisheries development and management brings it into close
association with the fishing industry which critics argue has ―captured‖ the agency (see
McBeath, 2004). Key management duties relating to marine mammals are shared
between four offices: the Alaska Regional Protected Species offices in Anchorage and
Juneau, the headquarters office in Washington, DC, and the National Marine Mammal
Laboratory in Seattle. The majority of staff are wildlife biologists. Several respondents
familiar with both agencies report that NMFS has a low prioritization for co-management
activities as compared to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). Co-management
agreements with Alaska Native organizations are negotiated separately from budgeting
processes, resulting in some boards having to spend significant time on lobbying
Congress to receive base funding.

The Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission (AEWC) was founded in 1977 as a response to
the International Whaling Commission’s complete ban on bowhead whaling. Soon after
the ban was communicated locally, North Slope Borough Mayor Eben Hobson organized
a meeting of 90 whaling captains and others to form the Commission with the initial
intention of fighting the ban. However, the Commission adopted an initial statement
indicating broader ambitions: the intention to pursue a self-regulatory regime through a
combination of traditional and scientific methods (Langdon 1984). A key innovation of
this regime was the incorporation of local leadership and enforcement councils made up
of whaling captains’ associations. Through time, traditional whaling rules have been
overseen by qaliqi (ceremonial houses) in Point Hope, Alaska; village-based whaling
captains’ associations; and Alaska Native tribal governments (Worl 1981). The AEWC
incorporated these local enforcement entities into their 1977 adopted management plan
which they presented to federal negotiators, and was subsequently adopted, as a local
solution to international concerns over bowhead whaling (Langdon 1984). The local
enforcement regime is informed by traditional ecological knowledge in that traditional
rules relating to the harvest are both de jure and de facto policy.

The late 70s was a period of conflict between the National Marine Fisheries Service and
the Alaska Eskimo whalers, culminating in civil disobedience of the IWC moratorium
(and NMFS’ enforcement of it) and a subsequent indictment of the leaders of the Barrow
Whaling Captains’ Association (Langdon 1984) by a federal grand jury in Anchorage.
Law enforcement officers were often seen up in Barrow, intending to enforce an
internationally recognized quota on the aboriginal bowhead hunt. There were
improvements to be made, for sure, in the efficiency of the hunt, but the command-and-
control resource management strategy was not felt to be an optimal solution by Barrow
whalers. Eventually, NMFS realized that it was unlikely to receive the sort of
information it needed to effect the international treaty by force alone, as the officers
relied on whalers to report their catch and communications were strained between NMFS

and the whalers. The eventually adopted management plan for the bowhead hunt relied
on a devolved enforcement regime made up of whalers, the Alaska Eskimo Whaling
Commission, and tribunals for any violations. The Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission
was the first co-management institution in the United States in which management of a
subsistence resource was devolved to the subsistence users, and it has endured as a policy
monopoly over bowhead whale subsistence management since its inception with no
credible challenges to its authority.

To this day, the regime for bowhead subsistence management remains most active at the
local levels, where whaling captains and AEWC officers manage and report to their
federal partners. Linkages to federal partners seem strongest in terms of the ongoing
biological research plan and in negotiations with industry over offshore oil and gas
exploration. Enforcement officers or other NMFS staff are rarely seen in Barrow. The
AEWC has been very successful in regulating the harvest to achieve particular results,
such as reducing the taking of large old whales (Bodenhorn 2001) and punishing any
intentional take of whale calves, against NMFS and AEWC regulations. Infractions have
been rare over the period of the AEWC management era. In addition, the efficiency of
the hunt has improved dramatically, from an estimated rate of 50% struck-and-lost
whales in the late 70s to the 2005 successful take of 81% of struck whales (IWC 2006).

Several respondents credit the scrutiny of the IWC as well as improved technology and
training for the improvement. At the same time, the population of bowhead whales in the
Chukchi and Beaufort Seas is healthy and growing at an estimated rate of 3% annually
(IWC 2006). Habitat pressures are increasing, however, as off-shore oil and gas
exploration employ significant levels of sound to aid in their search for minerals. To
date, industrial operators are allowed to operate in whale habitat, provided that they
coordinate their exploration with subsistence whaling activities through the AEWC and
monitor the impact of their activities on marine mammals within a particular radius of
their operations. The task of negotiating these Conflict Avoidance Agreements has
largely fallen to the AEWC, who must coordinate with an increasing number of oil and
gas companies. The National Marine Fisheries Service has not declared any habitat as
essential to the recovery of the bowhead whale, as its population numbers have remained
strong since it was listed as an endangered species in 1970 (NMFS 2002).

3.4 Profile: The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Nanuuq
The USFWS is the premier agency in the United States regulating activities that may
impact wildlife on federal lands, and protected species on other lands. They are
predominantly a terrestrial agency as part of the Department of the Interior, but also have
jurisdiction over walrus, polar bears and sea otters in Alaska. They have a strong
presence in Alaska as federal wildlife refuge managers and have a substantial staff of
social scientists within their terrestrial division, as required for work implementing
federal land acts such as the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. Their marine
mammal division has its own office in Anchorage but also works with the marine
mammal research specialists at the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) office in

Anchorage. The Biological Resource Discipline (BRD) at the U.S.G.S. is a science
agency for all of the Department of Interior agencies and operates a client-driven
approach to science. As such, BRD staff members have made pains to distinguish their
role as a ―neutral‖ information provider during co-management meetings. As part of the
Department of the Interior, USFWS has been criticized for its perceived disruption of
economic interests through advocacy for rigorous protective measures for critical habitat
and endangered species (Clarke and McCool 1996). USFWS has worked closely with
Alaska Native communities in analyzing critical habitat issues for marine mammals, and
no lands have yet been restricted. Co-management agreements are developed with
Alaska Native organizations and budgeted within USFWS’ annual budget from Congress,
thus tying the co-management boards to their partner agency more fully than boards
acting with NMFS.

USFWS also has international projects with Russian counterparts and other countries
involved in international treaties protecting animals with special conservation needs. The
department enforces the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of
Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). In addition to export/import permits, under the MMPA,
the department has a fairly bureaucratic system for collecting information from harvested
marine mammals called the Marking, Tagging and Reporting program and have a large
enforcement team to fight trafficking of endangered or threatened species. Past large-
scale enforcement actions remain a legacy in the walrus co-management relationship.
Hunters who violate the Marine Mammal Protection Act may find themselves convicted
of a felony and unable to possess firearms afterwards. This unintended consequence of
federal criminal law has reportedly created hardships in some villages in which key
hunters were arrested and unable to hunt lawfully.

Alaska shares polar bear stocks with bordering regions of Canada and Russia. The
hunting of polar bear was banned in the U.S.S.R. in 1956 due to a perception of depletion
due to over-harvesting (USFWS 2004). The American harvest declined since the passage
of the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act which only allowed for limited incidental
takes from commercial interests, and a subsistence harvest for Alaska Natives. 1973 saw
the passage of the multilateral Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears, which
allowed subsistence harvests but banned commercial ones (Agreement 1973). In 1989,
U.S.S.R. reclassified the polar bear as a recovered species and notified the U.S. Fish &
Wildlife Service that it wished to share in the harvest of the Bering/Chukchi population
(Johnson 2001). Few bears were reportedly harvested from the U.S.S.R. side until the
early 90s, when economic and social events in the country resulted in low capacity to
enforce existing regulations and increasing need for subsistence food (USFWS 2004).

With the possibility of increased harvesting pressure from Chukotka, USFWS met with
representatives of the Eskimo Walrus Commission, the North Slope Borough, Kawerak
and Maniiliq Associations in Western Alaska to discuss what joint management of the
polar bear might entail. The Alaska Native organizations were told that any joint
management of the harvest would likely include quotas (Johnson 2001). Johnson reports
that the groups responded by saying that since they were the only legal hunters of the
population, they wanted to be an equal partner in the negotiations with the Russian

government. In addition, they stated that any introduction and enforcement of quotas
should be determined through a Native-to-Native agreement modeled on the Inuvialuit –
Inupiaq Agreement on the Southern Beaufort Sea stock of polar bears shared with
Canada (Johnson 2001). By 1994, the Nanuuq (polar bear) Commission was formed to
represent village Tribal Councils residing in the polar bear range on the Alaska side. A
sister organization in Russia was formed in 1997 and is now known as the Association of
Traditional Marine Mammal Hunters of Chukotka.

Barrow is involved in the Inuvialuit – Inupiaq agreement, monitored through the North
Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management. Polar bear management in Barrow
is a fairly diffuse network, as compared to the vertically integrated workings of the
bowhead regime. Hunters report their harvest to USFWS authorized taggers, residing at
several local government organizations and a few at-large operators in the community.
The Fish and Wildlife Management Committee of the Borough provides a potential
forum for collective action on polar bear management, but is not systematically
connected to the Nanuuq Commission. Harvest reporting is encouraged by Borough staff
and USFWS personnel, who in times past had threatened enforcement action in order to
improve compliance. Now taggers and borough staff are more likely to call on successful
hunters to come and report their catch if they have not yet done so. However, the
estimated rate of compliance is low as compared to reporting under the Inuvialuit regime
on the Canadian side. USFWS personnel, including biologists and harvest monitoring
staff, periodically visit town to discuss ongoing studies and enforcement issues. It is
important to note that the FWS is also responsible for several other subsistence-harvested
species, such as birds protected under the Migratory Bird Act and caribou and fish
harvested in the nearby National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska. Residents of Barrow have
responsibility for following hunting regulations enforced by FWS for all of these species.

The Southern Beaufort Sea stock of polar bears may be in decline, largely attributed to
habitat loss and associated nutritional stress (Regehr, Amstrup et al. 2006). This
population has not been actively managed for years, as harvests on the American and
Canadian side have not been substantial since the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act
ended sport hunting in Alaska and the 1973 Polar Bear Treaty came into force in Canada.
Key research and network building activities sponsored by the Nanuuq Commission have
taken place in Chukotka, which is seen by the Nanuuq Commission and the USFWS as
the area with the highest conservation problem. Barrow polar bear management activities
in recent years have involved public safety and food management issues. Polar bear
patrols were organized in the past to assist residents in keeping bears out of town. Now
the Borough sends out polar bear guards on an on-call basis. Polar bear guarding is also
an entrepreneurial activity; many residents work part-time guarding industry or
researchers in the field. The numbers of bears coming ashore in Barrow and other North
Slope communities has increased in recent years and are predicted to increase as habitat
pressures push bears off of the ice packs near shore.

4. Conclusions
4.1 Agency profiles and performance
Preliminary data suggest that NMFS’ devolution of harvest management for bowhead
whales and financial independence from co-management boards has fostered a co-
management regime that is more autonomous than those partnering with USFWS. That
autonomy has allowed the AEWC to pursue an independent research agenda important to
whalers and their families that may not have been prioritized by federal agencies, such as
testing for pollutants and assuring population censuses use traditional knowledge to
achieve the best science possible. The vertically integrated harvest management system
linking whalers to the AEWC and to its partner agency has worked exceedingly well,
allowing NMFS to focus on research and management challenges associated with other
whale species that are not recovering to pre-commercial whaling population numbers.
The distance, however, between NMFS personnel and whalers has prompted some to
question whether or not NMFS is doing all it can to regulate commercial activity in whale
habitat. A key task for my analysis is to examine how this devolved approach to harvest
management affects the ability of NMFS and its co-management partners to act
collectively. The completed network analysis in conjunction with qualitative information
will allow me to trace linkages from regime actors and to enquire how the linkages affect
the process of collective action.

The Nanuuq Commission illustrates a more tightly linked collaboration model with their
partner agency, USFWS. Their budgets and program priorities are negotiated together,
which has sometimes resulted in a predominance of agency-requested projects versus
Commission-requested projects. However, the focus of the Nanuuq Commission on its
role in the pending Polar Bear Treaty between the U.S. and Russia has been supported by
both the agency and the Commission equally. The tightly linked board, especially in the
Chukchi Sea, might be more institutionally resilient in the long-term than more
autonomous NMFS boards if the federal government adopts more stringent rules
concerning polar bear harvesting or other allowed takes. The shape of the polar bear
management network in Barrow is diffuse and partners are linked but the USFWS has so
far been less effective in regulating harvests than their Canadian counterparts. Since
there is no intermediate level organizing body, such as the Barrow Whaling Captains
Association, local organizations have not had ownership over regulatory matters
regarding polar bears and compliance has been low. A full analysis of this profile will
consider the following: to what extent do FWS employees identify with the roles of
manager and law enforcement? How does the structural split between FWS management
and research affect its ability to engage in various co-management activities? How have
past FWS law enforcement actions in rural Alaska affected trust relationships with
partners? And finally, if tight linkages are required for successful performance, why is
FWS less effective at harvest monitoring than NMFS? Are tight linkages necessary but
not sufficient? My initial analysis of performance is summarized in table 1.

4.2 Next steps
Data collection for this research program began in 2004 and will continue until 2007
when the final analysis will begin. A partial network analysis and participant observation
field season was completed in Barrow during fall 2006. The next step in my research
plan is to interview agency managers and researchers for their perspectives on co-
management and agency culture. Participation in co-management board meetings will
continue until 2007, supplemented with additional trips to Barrow to observe harvesting
during other seasons. In addition to the performance indicators discussed above, a
chapter of my dissertation will be devoted to marine mammal management based on
genetic stock structures and the IDGEC concept of fit (Young 2002).

Table 1. Agency profiles and performance results
Regime      Agency profile     Outputs              Outcomes              Impacts
Bowhead     Devolved           AEWC                 Whalers comply        Less struck-
whales      management         management plan      with reporting and    and-lost
                               adopted by           harvest rules and     whales
            Key focus is       NMFS                 increase efficiency   improve
            scientific                                                    recruitment
            research                                                      potential
Bowhead      --                Permitting           Oil companies         Whale
whales                         conditions           negotiate             disturbance
                               regarding noise      agreements with       during harvest
                               from seismic         AEWC                  season is
                               operations                                 moderate
Polar       Diffuse            Polar Bear Treaty    Networking for        None yet
bears       management         signed by US and     polar bear treaty
                               Russia, waiting to   work has increased
            Key focus is       be ratified by US    knowledge about
            harvest                                 polar bear harvest
            monitoring and                          levels and
            enforcement                             challenges
Polar       --                 Harvest tagging,     Hunters who           None, harvest
bears                          monitoring and       participate have      is below
                               assessment           given USFWS more      voluntary
                               program adopted      information about     quota
                               in regulations       bear populations

Acknowledgements. This research has been possible through support from the National
Science Foundation, Dissertation Improvement Grant 0612523; the Resilience and
Adaptation Fellowship at the University of Alaska Fairbanks; the Ruth Croxton

Memorial Grant at the University of Alaska; my advisor Dr. Gary Kofinas in the
Department of Resources Management; Dr. Amy Lovecraft; the community of Barrow,
Alaska; the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission and the Nanuuq Commission; the
Barrow Whaling Captains Association and Eugene Brower; the Barrow Arctic Research
Consortium;      and     my        community      liason,     Lollie     Hopson.

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