Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Fall 2018

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Cultural and Environmental Resource Management

Committee Chair

Anthony Gabriel

Second Committee Member

Michael Pease

Third Committee Member

Anne Pflug


Freshwater demand and scarcity issues are an issue of global concern, in particular for the American West as global climate models suggest precipitation regime changes and an increase of drought. This research conducts a case-study of the Upper Klamath Basin, located in south-central Oregon and northern California, a microcosm of the arid and semi-arid American West that experienced an economically, socially, and ecologically impactful drought in the early 2000s. Through a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods this research: 1) identifies key stakeholders, their goals and key policies; 2) conducts an adaptive capacity assessment of water management within the basin; and 3) makes future recommendations for water policy and management within the basin. To achieve these objectives content analysis, semi-structured interviews, and an event history calendar were completed. Results indicate that adaptive capacity is tied, in addition to occurrences of drought, to events on the sociopolitical landscape and is variable to each stakeholder group examined. This research shows that adaptive capacity overall was on the rise following the early 2000s, peaking with the signing of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) and Final Order of Determination but has begun decreasing again following the sunset of the KBRA in 2015.