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. firstname.lastname@example.org 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.