|Abstract: ||The fundamentals of the American political system, with multiple layers and branches of government, are a reality of the institutional fragmentation that is inevitable in a nation of decentralized government. Regional water policies have evolved with shifts in federal and state institutions' struggle for the balance of power. Historically, these changes have been incremental; however, in recent decades technological and economic advances, particularly in the West, along with environmental concerns, have fostered rapid changes in water-related institutions. As a new century approaches, the control of water resources at regionally defined scales has become fashionable, especially at the watershed level. New strategies have been championed to deal with the many concerns deriving from federal, state and local efforts to manage regional watersheds in the western U.S. The federal government plays a significant and essential role in the effective functioning of most watershed initiatives. A major focus of this research has been to examine the way that federal agencies support, impair, and participate in watershed policy and management. The Tahoe Basin will serve as a case study in order to examine federal influence in the modern watershed initiative. Reasons for considering the Tahoe Basin include (1) water resource management occurs at the federal, state, regional, and local level, (2) the Basin is a western watershed struggling with both conservation and development issues, and (3) there is significant federal support for and intervention in watershed management and conservation policy for the Basin. Note: dissertation citations and abstracts contained here are published with permission of ProQuest Information and Learning. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by addressing your request to UMI® Dissertation Services, 300 North Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346 USA. Telephone (734) 761-7400; Web-page: wwwlib.umi.com/dissertations.