Cache la Poudre River Health Assessment Framework

Organizations and agencies are increasingly learning the importance of collaboration for ensuring that decisions and planning efforts are broadly supported and sustainable. This is made harder and more critical when the issues are complex and technical, and when they cross disciplinary boundaries and expertise.

CDR has been working with the City of Fort Collins to help create a health assessment tool for the Poudre River. The Poudre River is a treasured community asset as well one of the most developed rivers in the country. Ecological, agricultural, municipal, industrial, and recreational interests compete for this limited resource, both externally and within the City. The multiple beneficial uses range from delivering water to towns and farms, to providing habitat, flood protection, and quality of life for the community.

The goal of the “River Health Assessment Framework” was to quantitatively describe the City’s vision for a healthy and resilient Poudre River. To do so, the City created an interdisciplinary team that could pursue this goal through a broad, inclusive lens – recognizing the inherent competing challenges, as well as synergies, between the City’s goals of securing a stable water supply, managing stormwater and flood risk, and restoring and maintaining an ecologically healthy river.

CDR helped the City:

  • structure a process in which the thorniest issues could be directly addressed directly
  • ensure the process resulted in concrete early outcomes
  • make sure these early successes could be built upon
  • provide meaningful problem-solving around difficult issues
  • bring in the necessary parties and ensure they were consulted at critical junctures
  • assure the process was iterative and set up for a lasting, successful outcome

Why CDR’s facilitation expertise helped create buy-in and minimize internal conflict:

  • we helped create a comprehensive, transparent process
  • we were able to help frame complicated issues in tangible, constructive ways
  • we helped challenge assumptions and dig beneath them to promote greater understanding
  • we probed staff on difficult questions

The result was a testament to real-life collaboration:

  • challenging, at times messy, complicated, and fast-paced
  • a process that resulted in deeper mutual and cross-departmental understanding
  • increased capacity for handling real and perceived conflict

The process culminated in a broadly supported tool that will have wide-ranging impacts for the city and beyond. The “River Health Assessment Framework” will be available in early July for public comment at

For more information, contact Ryan Golten.

Posted in Uncategorized

11 Years of CDR Training African Diplomats for the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)

Many nations around the world, experience turmoil and conflict either within or along their borders.  Africa is no different.  CDR has worked with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) for many years to design and present customized international training programs on culturally appropriate dispute resolution and mediation procedures that can help resolve conflicts within and between nations.  In April of this year, CDR conducted its 11th seminar, a major component of UNITAR’s Regional Training Programme to Enhance Conflict Prevention and Peace Building in Africa.  This program was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the headquarters of the African UnionEarlier programs were held in Cape Town, South Africa, and Harari, Zimbabwe.


The program was attended by African officials and delegates from the African Union, African Foreign Service officers and a range of other government officials from across the continent.  CDR presented lectures and used an African conflict simulation for participants to practice mediation and negotiation procedures and skills.

 The Training Program Covered How To:

  • Conduct and apply a rigorous situation assessment or conflict analysis
  • Develop and implement appropriate and effective conflict resolution strategies and tactics
  • Apply interest-based negotiation procedures rather than engage in positional bargaining
  • Use mediators and a mediation process effectively
  • Identify principles as future frameworks for agreements
  • Generate a range of possible options for agreements
  • Break deadlocks that impede settlement caused by people, procedures or substantive issues
  • Narrow options and build durable solutions and agreements
  • Apply interest-based negotiation and mediation procedures to address and resolve common political, economic and social conflicts – recognition of diverse languages, cultures and religions; the form of political structures and selection of leaders; the roles of military and police in society and who serves in them; decisions about natural resources, their exploitation and management and allocation of benefits; and the degree of influence ethnic minorities have over their lives

For more information, contact Christopher Moore or UNITAR.

Posted in Uncategorized

Collaborative decision-making process facilitates US 36 Corridor construction!

The US 36 corridor between Denver and Boulder is currently under construction based on consensus reached between transportation agencies and the local communities.  Soon commuters will have 18 miles of new infrastructure improvements providing travel options including a new bus rapid transit system, a corridor-wide bikeway, high occupancy toll lanes and improvements to the general purpose lanes. The current travel disruption was preceded by the environmental study led by the Colorado Department of Transportation and Regional Transportation District of Denver from 2003 to 2009.

The challenge:
The US 36 Preferred Alternative Committee (PAC) was charged with developing a recommendation to federal agencies for an implementable solution after a Preferred Alternative was still unidentified at the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) phase after four years.

 What we did:
CDR Associates facilitated the PAC which consisted of elected officials, federal and state regulatory agency representatives and local government technical staff.

 How we did it:
CDR facilitators used a ‘building block’ approach to assemble an agreement on the Preferred Alternative, including both substantive agreements (type/number of lanes etc…) as well as procedural approaches and triggers for future consideration. The result of the collaborative decision making process was regional consensus that resolved the issues and identified a Preferred Alternative including strategies and priorities for implementing the $300 million project you see today.

 The results:
The US 36 EIS also incorporated meaningful input from the broader public into the decisions. The dynamic public involvement process solicited input from the stakeholders throughout five counties and seven municipalities in an area of a half million people to support the PAC’s decisions.

We are proud of our role in helping provide transportation improvements in our beautiful home in Colorado. For more information, contact Andrea Meneghel.

Posted in Uncategorized