A community-based assessment of the developing ecosystem management industry in Coos and Curry Counties, Oregon
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Watershed councils, resource managers and community economic development practitioners have a stake in exploring ways to link needed watershed restoration and on going stewardship with social and economic objectives. The Coos and Coquille Watershed Associations include social and economic health as part of their mission. The Labor Economic Action Project (LEAP) saw a local industry assessment project as a concrete way to help the watershed councils in the area while raising awareness of the opportunities and challenges for workers, contractors and resource managers. LEAP was formed in 1995 to bring labor and community advocates together to advocate for economic development strategies that focus on quality jobs for the long term. LEAP approached Oregon Economic Initiative, Inc. and Oregon Economic Development Department for assistance in mobilizing resources to conduct a survey of land managers, contractors and workers. The objective was to provide watershed councils, resource managers and community economic development practitioners in the Coos and Coquille watersheds with a snapshot of the current state of the developing ecosystem management industry, while building and/or strengthening local relationships needed to monitor social and economic parameters of forest and watershed assessment, treatment and monitoring. To do this assessment planners needed a basic roadmap of the market so as to know where to look. The initial work of the assessment project determined that the markets driving resource management employment results is a three-part system. Land managers determine work needed on the land base, contractors are secured to provide those services, and workers are hired to perform the work. LEAP gathered information on all three parts.