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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

First Advisor

Singleton, Sara (Sara G.)

Second Advisor

Salazar, Debra J.

Third Advisor

Abel, Troy D.


Properly managing river water is one of the most important common pool resource issues in the Western United States. Historically, laws regulating water in the West have been biased toward diverting water out of stream for human consumption at the cost of de-watering and degrading rivers across the West. Several states have recognized the importance of leaving water instream and have taken action to support that cause. This study provides an examination of the hybrid instream flow programs used in Colorado and Montana to preserve and restore the health of rivers in those states. Using a case study approach each program is evaluated in relation to five criteria including, permanence, number of instream flows, funding, monitoring and enforcement, and barriers to private participation. The results of this evaluation are analyzed in order to draw out the strengths and weaknesses of each program as well as determine their overall effectiveness in establishing instream flows. Based on this analysis, suggestions are offered concerning how to best design effective instream flow programs.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Water use--Government policy--Colorado--Case studies; Water use--Government policy--Montana--Case studies; Stream conservation--Government policy--Colorado--Case studies; Stream conservation--Government policy--Montana--Case studies; Streamflow--Law and legislation--Colorado--Case studies; Streamflow--Law and legislation--Montana--Case studies

Geographic Coverage

Colorado; Montana




masters theses




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