CDR assists the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with a Federal Rule-making Negotiation

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Estuary programs are multi-stakeholder collaborative initiatives to protect and restore water quality and the ecological integrity of estuaries of significance. They commonly involve diverse Federal, State, and local government agencies and stakeholders from the private and non-profit sectors. See https://www.epa.gov/nep/overview-national-estuary-program for more information on EPA’s National Estuary Program.)

Stakeholders in the Brownsville area of Texas are in the process of establishing an estuary program for the Lower Laguna Madre, a long, shallow hypersaline lagoon along the western coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Participating groups hope that in the future, the program will be recognized and supported by the U.S. Congress and incorporated into the national network of estuary programs.

CDR was asked by the local Laguna Madre Estuary Program coordinating committee – composed of representatives from multiple universities, counties, cities and EPA – to provide assistance in the design and facilitation of the Program’s first large public stakeholder engagement workshop.

The purposes of the workshop were to identify interested local partners, solicit their input on issues the Program should address and secure commitments for future participation.  CDR Partner Christopher Moore worked with the committee and EPA to design the workshop, facilitate it and prepare local facilitators to conduct topic-focused working sessions.

Close to 50 people attended the workshop, which has been followed up by numerous public education meetings and working groups.  For more information on the Lower Laguna Madre Estuary Program, contact:  Augusto Sánchez González, Director of Estuary, Environmental and Special Projects – Cameron County Region and Department of Civil Engineering, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. augusto.sanchezgonzalez@utrgv.edu or (956) 882-6605

For more information on CDR’s work in stakeholder engagement on development and environmental projects and programs, find Christopher Moore’s contact information here.

CDR Consults with Governments on Land Ownership Issues and Disputes in Liberia and Timor-Leste

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The Liberian government’s new land policy involves new procedures for customary communities to secure legal ownership of community land, which previously has been considered public land owned by the Government. To secure community ownership, customary communities will be required to identify their members (including women and minorities who may have come from or be members of other ethnic communities), negotiate boundaries with adjoining communities, and establish broadly representative governance structures for community land management and administration.

During 2016, CDR Associates Partner, Christopher Moore, conducted research with its Liberian partner, Parley, and wrote a monograph on Harmonizing Boundaries: Effective Negotiation Procedures for Delimiting, Demarcating and Resolving Disputes over Boundaries. This monograph is available on CDR’s website at here.

To facilitate the implementation of boundary harmonization, Moore designed and conducted training programs for staff of Liberian government agencies and non-governmental organizations to prepare them to work with communities to collaboratively delimit and demarcate their boundaries. Subsequently, Parley conducted multiple joint boundary harmonization workshops for adjoining communities and provided coaching assistance as they negotiated and established their common boundaries.

CDR’s assistance has been provided directly for the Liberian Land Commission and through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Tetra Tech’s Land Dispute Resolution Project (LCRP) and Land Governance Support Project (LGSA).

Timor-Leste

In the fall of 2016, CDR Partner Christopher Moore conducted a speaking tour in Timor-Leste to discuss land issues and dispute resolution systems that could be implemented to effectively resolve them. During the week-long tour, Chris met with government agencies, non-governmental organizations and university faculty and students.  His presentations focused on systems and procedures developed in other countries that could be used to address the kinds of land disputes that will inevitably arise with the passage of the country’s new law.  Chris also made a presentation to print and electronic media reporters on approaches for fair and impartial reporting on land issues and the new law.  The goal of the presentation was to provide guidance and techniques for reporters that would help them to inform members of the public on the new law and mitigate problems and disputes related to its implementation.

For more information on a range of CDR’s international development, environmental, land and water projects, find Chris Moore’s contact information here.

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

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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.

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

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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

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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.

Program was a success! Facilitation and Mediation of Public and Environmental Conflicts: Practical Strategies for Reaching Agreement, May 3-5, 2016!

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CDR’s 2016 training program was a huge success.  It focused on setting up and facilitating successful multi-party collaborative efforts. We teach you how to address aspects such as technical and political complexity, broad public involvement, media and other components. Our trainers use their personal experience in the field to demonstrate techniques and concepts. Our program blends presentations, group discussion, conflict analysis and strategy design exercises and simulations into a highly engaging learning environment.

The 2017 training dates will be posted later this year.  Please check back or sign up for our mailing list and we’ll notify you automatically.

To learn more about all of our public training opportunities or to register, click here.

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to Fund CDR Assessment of Industry Best Practices

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CDR is working in cooperation with Resources for the Future (RFF) on a third-party independent assessment of best practices in community engagement in unconventional energy development in the U.S. The research is funded by a generous grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and will involve extensive interviews with industry, communities, government and non-governmental stakeholders in oil and gas regions in Colorado, Pennsylvania and Texas. The research will focus on case studies where industry practices, protocols and behaviors have shown to be successful in addressing community needs and will examine what worked, why it worked, and whether the practices are transferable to other regions. The findings will help stakeholders better understand the challenges and opportunities surrounding hydraulic fracturing in a regional context and how industry operators have worked with communities to overcome challenges and leverage opportunities.

Industry, communities and local governments need more informed guidance to obtain and maintain a social license to operate.  While industry guides list principles and best practices in industry-community engagement, nowhere is there an attempt to assess what actually works, where and why, and how such practices may be adapted to fit various situations. Without such knowledge, industries and communities will continue to butt heads over whether and where hydraulic fracking should occur, how it should occur, and what accountability should exist between the oil and gas industry and local communities. The year-long assessment will be led by CDR Senior Program Manager Todd Bryan, Ph.D. and will be guided by an advisory group composed of regional representatives from industry, government, non-governmental organizations, and field researchers.

For more information, please contact Todd Bryan or visit our energy practice page.

WestConnect Coalition selects David Evans and Associates to lead PEL Study

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The goal of the WestConnect Coalition is to foster regional alliances and collaboratively design and implement transportation solutions to improve safety and mobility in the western area of the Denver metro region. The Coalition has now selected a technical consultant, David Evans and Associates, to lead the Planning and Environmental Linkage (PEL) study.

Jonathan Bartsch has been meeting with each of the jurisdictions to identify their unique issues and concerns, facilitating a technical working group and leading the policy level steering committee.

Jonathan and the CDR team will continue to lead the consensus building effort for the Coalition including support for the public engagement process during the 18-month PEL process. Stay tuned for more updates as the PEL gets underway.

For more information, please contact Jonathan Bartsch or visit our transportation practice page.

Colorado Oil and Gas MOU Stakeholder Assessment

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As fracking technology has enabled oil and gas companies increasingly to drill near communities, tensions involving industry, community advocates, state regulators, and local governments have escalated on Colorado’s Front Range. While local governments in western Colorado have had to find ways to address local concerns about the impacts of oil and gas drilling for years, the debate has reached a new level as production has moved to the populated cities on the east side of the Rockies.

Among the strategies used by local governments to address the impacts of oil and gas development are Memoranda of Agreement (MOUs) with operators to define how, and under what conditions, local development may occur. While the use of MOUs has drawn some mixed reactions from stakeholders regarding their efficacy, enforceability and transparency, MOUs have been increasingly utilized to address oil and gas concerns at the local level while avoiding lawsuits over the authority of communities to regulate oil and gas development.

What types of MOU provisions and processes have effectively addressed local concerns while reducing polarization over the issues? Which have done so less successfully? What have been the most significant challenges or barriers to the use of MOUs in this context? What are the greatest opportunities for using MOUs to build broadly supported outcomes? These are among the questions CDR is asking, along with the Intermountain Oil and Gas Best Management Practices (BMP) Project, originally a project of the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment at the University of Colorado Law School. With grants from the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Colorado Energy Office and others, the project will result in a searchable repository of Colorado oil and gas MOUs and the best management practices they contain, as well as a stakeholder assessment regarding the use of MOUs in Colorado.

For more information, please contact Ryan Golten or visit our energy practice page.

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