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Know the West

Rivers among us

  Even in the arid West, water wars aren't inevitable, according to a new study by Reason Public Policy Institute in Los Angeles. Collaborative local planning efforts are an effective method of balancing water needs while protecting the environment, according to the 35-page study Rivers Among Us: Local Watershed Preservation and Resource Management in the Western United States, by Christopher Hartwell and Michael Harrington. RPPI is a division of the Reason Foundation, a national research and educational organization that explores and promotes a libertarian perspective of limited government and "free minds and free markets." RPPI's report highlights four watersheds: California's Feather River basin, Idaho's Henry Fork basin, and Montana's Blackfoot River and Upper Clark Fork River basins. Lynn Scarlett of the institute says, more than ever, locals want to solve local environmental problems. "Increasingly, the political dynamic is just "by golly, let's get the job done," and just sitting down with people we don't normally sit down with," she says.

The study is $15 from the Reason Public Policy Institute, 3415 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 400, Los Angeles, CA 90034 (310/391-2245), or on the Web at http://www.rppi.org/ps259central.html.

* Karen Mockler