Collaborative decision-making process facilitates US 36 Corridor construction!

US 36

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.

Final Indian Oil Valuation Rule Published

indian oil

CDR Associates is excited to announce that the Indian Oil Valuation Rule, which they facilitated development of through a two-year Negotiated Rulemaking Committee, has been published and will be effective on July 1, 2015. As Secretary Jewell stated, “the final regulations will ensure that tribal communities receive all the royalty they are owed from oil production on their lands, reduce administrative costs, and provide greater predictability to the oil industry.”

The committee was comprised of Tribal, Indian mineral owners, industry, and federal government representatives. There had been a number of initiatives, beginning in 1998, that attempted to resolve concerns with the Rule, and none were completely successful until this negotiated rulemaking. Discussions involved highly complex technical discussions that resulted in consensus on the concepts that form the basis of the Final Rule. For more information, please contact Chris Moore or Laura Sneeringer.

The Produced Water Conversation

Produced water

Produced Water is a term used to describe water that is produced in the fracking process.   CDR Associates has been working with stakeholders across Colorado to facilitate the conversation around produced water and its future uses, recycling possibilities and more.

CDR’s white paper on this process caught the attention of Colorado Public Radio and aided in a story being run this week as part of the Ripple Effect series.

You can read our white paper and check out the written and audio versions of the Produced Water episode of the Ripple Effect series.

For more information on CDR’s work on produced water, contact Ryan Golten, rgolten@mediate.org.

Managing Scarce Western Water Resources

Facilitation

Managing scarce western water resources increasingly requires an understanding of the multiple interests facing any watershed and ways in which they interact, overlap, and compete. CDR Associates reflects on inter-jurisdictional stakeholder based efforts in western watersheds.

Water managers and policy makers balance pressures ranging from ensuring a safe and reliable water supply for municipal and agricultural users, to maintaining a healthy river system, to protecting against flood danger and damage, to ensuring economic development and recreational opportunities. These interests often overlap – e.g., a healthy river system can help protect against flooding; a reliable water supply can help ensure flows to create or maintain a healthy river. For water-scarce western communities, however, with the increasing threats of climate change and reduced water supply, these demands are often seen as inherently competing for funding, public attention, priority status, and political support. This challenge is compounded by the siloes created in local government to manage different water-related programs and priorities.

Having facilitated several inter-jurisdictional, stakeholder-based efforts to create watershed-wide master plans for the State after the 2013 Colorado floods, CDR is working with municipalities to internally align their priorities and approaches to managing rivers. For cities juggling numerous river-related objectives (e.g., water supply, a healthy river, flood protection), this means building internal understanding about the nuanced ways in which their interests relate to and impact one another. For a utility department, this may mean a better understanding of what ecologists mean by ‘river health’ and how water supply projects or water management to meet multiple interests. For environmental scientists, this may mean a better understanding of the risks and threats that utility or storm water departments manage, including engineering projects that could be impacted by the timing or politics of river health projects.

As CDR’s work has shown, a forward-thinking, cross-sector approach to managing western water – particularly in this era of water scarcity and the unpredictability of climate change – requires building communication, trust and understanding across disciplines and interest groups; designing and developing mechanisms for collaboration, including effective facilitation; and leadership that promotes and supports this silo-busting approach.

 

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