Colorado River Water Conservation District – Facilitating Agreements on Evolving Strategic Priorities

colorado_river_(River_District)

As Colorado’s principal policy and planning agency for the Colorado River, the Colorado River District covers 15 counties on Colorado’s Western Slope as it winds its way through seven western states into Mexico. While the River District has a long and accomplished history in the Colorado River Basin, meeting its mission of protecting, conserving and developing the Colorado River’s resources for the diverse and evolving needs of western Colorado – including significant agricultural, municipal, environmental and recreational interests – is no easy feat. This is particularly true in an era of increasing uncertainty, competition for water resources, and rapidly changing demographics, culture, and technology. CDR Associates facilitated a process for the District’s Board, representing 15 counties throughout western Colorado, to identify and prioritize strategic goals for the District as it enters a new era of reallocation, scarcity and variability. This process required understanding the diverse and varying needs of the river’s sub-basins, balancing short-term water needs with long-term goals, weighing climate projections, considering inter-state Compact requirements and needs, and striving to protect western agriculture while representing evolving priorities of the ‘new West.’ It required staying true to the District’s advocacy mission and history, while continuing to integrate collaborative approaches to help meet the District’s goals. The planning process will be reflected in an updated strategic plan for the District to help guide it through this time of significant change for District and the entire Colorado River Basin. For more information, contact Ryan Golten or Chris Moore, visit our water practice page, or visit the Colorado River District’s website.

Notes From the Field: CDR Assists the Liberian Forest Development Authority with its Global Climate Change Initiative

Pictures for Liberia FGRM 1

Liberia possesses some of the most extensive and bio-diverse primary tropical rain forests in the world.  They cover 4.3 million hectares, are an important national environmental and social endowment, and are central to the economic development of the country and critical for livelihoods of its citizens. The Government of Liberia is embarking on a major national and international venture to help address global climate change. Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Government of Liberia is participating in the Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) initiative to

CDR Associates, with  partner Parley Liberia, has been supporting the Liberian Forest Development Authority and concerned stakeholders to develop an effective Feedback and Grievance Redress Mechanism (FGRM) that will effectively address disputes that may arise during REDD+ visioning, planning and implementation phases.  Having a FGRM in place is a requirement for REDD+ readiness. To date, CDR has prepared the Inception Report for the project, is supporting fieldwork conducted by Parley, and is helping convene a representative group of stakeholders to participate in multiple “designshops” to design and build national capacities to implement the FGRM. For more information, contact Chris Moore or Susan Wildau or visit our sustainable development practice area page.

CDR Assists Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division in Enhancing Metrc Software

In order to effectively enforce legalized marijuana in Colorado, the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division has a software system to track the process from marijuana harvest to retail sales—the Metrc system (Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance) which is also used in Alaska and Oregon. CDR Associates, as part of the Rebound Solutions team, facilitated meetings among state government employees and users of the system including cultivators, manufacturers, retail stores and third-party vendors. The user group provides recommendations on how to enhance the software, and the State Licensing Authority and Marijuana Enforcement Division make all decisions on what upgrades to make. In order to prioritize enhancements, the group identified criteria and developed a list of priorities for 3-month intervals. They also discussed principles for data integrity. Meetings provide an opportunity for the software developer, Franwell, to share updates and respond to questions, and refine next steps for updates. For more information, contact Laura Sneeringer or visit the Marijuana Enforcement Division or Metrc websites.

CDR Facilitates Development of Crystal River Management Plan

small-streams

Agricultural production has historically been the cornerstone of the lifestyle, culture and economy of Crystal River valley and remains so today. However, growing population and changing demographics in the valley have heightened interest in recreational, environmental and aesthetic values of the Crystal River. In recent drought years, recorded extreme low flows in the lower Crystal River fueled concerns and controversy among residents, conservation groups, environmental advocates, resource agencies and the agricultural community about the health of the River. In response, the local watershed organization, Roaring Fork Conservancy provided essential local capacity and team building to develop and implement the Crystal River Management Plan (CRMP). CDR Associates, Lotic Hydrological, and the Public Counsel of the Rockies helped support their efforts.

The CRMP provided a collaborative community process to bring diverse stakeholders together to openly explore and discuss values, resource use priorities, and feasibility constraints around water management alternatives. The Plan was extensively vetted with stakeholders to ensure broad support and buy-in for the plan as a platform for implementation. The stakeholder process represented a significant investment of time, trust and cooperation by stakeholders throughout the project, and provides a foundation for working together as a community to implement the CRMP recommendations.

Stakeholder input generated in early group meetings, informal “coffee shop” encounters, and community informational meetings also guided the choice of alternative management practices that were analyzed: market based incentives for water conservation through bypassed flows; infrastructure improvements and efficiency upgrades; off-stream storage; habitat enhancement through channel modification. This input helped to illuminate management constraints beyond the ecological and physical processes such as agricultural operations, planting cycles, policies, markets and social attitudes.

CDR supported the effort by framing questions and digging deep to understand stakeholder values and perspectives, building support for the scientific approach and methodology, and clarifying the outcomes and time frames. For more information, contact Jonathan Bartsch, visit our water practice page or review the CRMP on the Roaring Fork Conservancy website.

CDR Completes 23rd Year of Training Mediators for the United Nations

unitar_logo_blue-png

CDR Associates worked with Francesc Vendrell, the former personal representative to the UN Secretary General and the Special Representative of the European Union for Afghanistan, to lead a multi-day mediation training session in a module of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Fellowship Programme in Peacemaking and Preventive Diplomacy.  The seminar, organized by UNITAR and the International Peace Institute and held in Oslo, was attended by close to 40 UN staff and foreign service officers from around the world. The mediation module presented effective intermediary procedures and skills using the case of Afghanistan and potential negotiations between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban.  A description of the program can be found in Strengthening the Practice of Peacemaking and Preventive Diplomacy in the United Nations:  The UNITAR Approach, to which CDR’s Chris Moore and Susan Wildau contributed several chapters. For more information, contact Chris Moore or Susan Wildau or visit our training page.

Notes From the Field: CDR Assists the Government of Liberia and Customary Communities to Resolve Disputes over Boundaries

Picture for Liberia Boundary Harmonization Article

The Government of Liberia is engaging in a process to empower customary communities to have ownership of their historic lands legally recognized under statutory law. This will be a significant achievement, as in the past most land not on the coast and held under statutory law, was directly owned and controlled by the state.  It is expected that greater community control of land and the formation of community-based land management committees will help promote grass-roots driven development.

Part of the procedure for recognition of customary land involves harmonization of community boundaries, the negotiation of mutually acceptable borders between neighboring customary communities.  As part of the process, CDR Partner Christopher Moore, working with Tetra Tech under a contract with the U.S. Agency for International Development, has conducted a desk study on international best practices on boundary negotiations and drafted a guidance note to help communities more effectively reach agreements on their boundaries. Contributions to the document on Liberian experiences in negotiating boundaries were made by Parley, CDR’s Liberian partner, based on field studies in 12 communities.  The document, Boundary Harmonization: Effective Negotiation Procedures to Delimit, Demarcate and Resolve Disputes over Boundaries, will be published by Tetra Tech and USAID in the fall of 2016.

In addition to writing Boundary Harmonization, Chris in cooperation with Parley, conducted a five day workshop, including a training-for-trainers component, for Liberian NGOs and government personnel who will be working with communities to prepare them for boundary harmonization activities. For more information, contact Chris Moore or visit our housing, land and property practice area page.