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U.Va.-Based Research Consortium Awards Grants To Study Environmental Outcomes Of Collaborative Processes

July 15, 2002-- The University of Virginia’s Institute for Environmental Negotiation has awarded six grants to researchers from across the country to study the processes and environmental outcomes of community-based collaborative projects.

The research grants, ranging from $10,000 to $35,000, were awarded by the Institute’s Community-Based Collaboratives Research Consortium (CBCRC). Funding for the grants is provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which funds the consortium.

Among the projects that will receive funding are forest management efforts in Idaho, watershed planning in Oregon and California, land-use planning in Arizona and land management in Colorado.

Affiliated with the U.Va. School of Architecture’s Department of Urban and Environmental Planning, the Institute for Environmental Negotiation was formed in 1980 to provide mediation and consensus-building services to the public and private sectors concerning conflicts and policy choices about land use and the environment.

Founded in 1999, the Community-Based Collaboratives Research Consortium serves as a forum for researchers, agencies, community and environmental groups, tribes and facilitators to share research findings concerning collaborative approaches to environmental management.

"The idea to fund research concerning the outcomes of collaborative processes arose in response to the controversy surrounding their use and the lack of clear, objective and defensible research about their appropriateness and impacts," said Institute Director E. Franklin Dukes. Increasingly, agencies are seeking to rely on multi-stakeholder, collaborative processes to help advise natural resource managers. The consortium seeks to understand the appropriate situations for engaging in collaborative processes, as well as their outcomes and impacts on the environment.

Across the nation, community-based collaborative groups have formed to influence environmental management decisions that affect their local communities. For example, a community surrounded by national forests and grazing lands is dependent economically, socially and environmentally on resource management decisions concerning those lands. If tree harvesting or grazing is restricted or expanded, there will be a direct impact on the community.

"Western fires and eastern and mid-western droughts are leading communities to become even more concerned about how they can influence land management decisions, such as those that decrease fire risk or encourage water conservation," said Dukes. "As communities of place become more engaged in seeking to influence government decisions concerning local land management, environmentalists and others will continue to question their influence over public resources. The Consortium’s research will seek to understand and assess the role and environmental outcomes of community involvement."

To help groups, agencies and others share ideas and network, the consortium has upgraded its free web site, http://www.cbcrc.org, to provide new tools, including expanded search capabilities for the on-line database of books, journals and research, the collaborative projects and research database and updates on the funded projects.

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Projects funded by the Community-Based Collaboratives Research Consortium:

Collaboration, community, and institutional constraints in rural Idaho (ESA Consulting, Idaho). The research project will focus on a CBC concerned with forest management on Idaho’s Nez Perce National Forest and will also include interviews with local community leaders and U.S.

Forest Service NPNF personnel. The researchers will analyze historic data to understand the CBC within a social and ecological scale.

Project e-mail: EcoSocialAnalyst@moscow.com

Project Coordinators: Bill Warren or Dora Rollins (208) 882-6402.

Navajo four directions research model: Birdsprings community land use planning committee — a Navajo community-based collaborative researching its role and impact (Birdsprings Community Land Use Planning Committee, Flagstaff, Ariz.) The project will explore how to refine and focus the organizational techniques and strategies used by the CBC in helping to preserve the ecological, cultural and economic balance of Arizona’s Birdsprings area. It is hoped that a deeper understanding of the validity of traditional Navajo problem-solving techniques and conflict resolution will result in order to facilitate the functioning of Navajo CBCs.

Project e-mail: kyrilcalsoyas@earthlink.net

Project Coordinators: Dr. Kyril Calsoyas kyrilcalsoyas@earthlink.net (928) 714-9422 and Thomas Walker (928) 686-3266, 3267

Community-based collaboratives and the U.S. Bureau of land management (College of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado at Denver). The project will examine the role of CBCs in natural resources decision-making for public lands, focusing on CBCs that are initiated by or work directly with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The study will examine the extent to which BLM incorporates collaborative planning into its decision-making processes and will assess the key attributes of collaborative processes that result in successful outcomes.

Project e-mail: Tamare.Laninga@colorado.edu

Project Contact: Tamara J. Laninga, doctoral candidate in the College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Colorado at Denver (303) 786-1855

A longitudinal and spatial analysis of intermediate socio-environmental impacts of community-based collaborative planning in Southwest Colorado (Gettysburg College, Pa.) A team of researchers will analyze the intermediate socio-environmental impacts of a CBC-based forest plan revision on Colorado’s San Juan National Forest. The researchers will conduct a longitudinal examination of community participation, incorporation of local knowledge in the collaborative process; and a spatial analysis of community-forest characteristics and relationships in the forest’s surrounding communities. The analyses will also serve as tools for comparative analyses of other CBCs in the Four Corners region.

Project e-mail: rwilson@gettysburg.edu

Project Coordinator: Dr. Randall Wilson (717) 337-6034

Improving the effectiveness of community-based collaborative: tools for broadening community outreach (University of Oregon). The project will conduct research focusing on the increasingly prominent role of CBCs in watershed planning, examining six watershed councils in Oregon to investigate the factors that motivate landowners to participate in collaborative programs and evaluate why they adopt proposed conservation measures.

Project e-mail: rdm@darkwing.uoregon.edu

Project Coordinator: Dr. Rich Margerum (541) 346-2526

Participatory monitoring by resource advisory committees in Northern California (Watershed Research and Training Center, Hayfork, Calif.) The project will focus on the monitoring activities of Resource Advisory Committees (RACs) in Northern California. The investigators will compare RACs located in counties with a long history of collaborative decision-making to those with less experience using such a process, resulting in a plan to develop self-monitoring and evaluation programs that will enable them to track how their activities affect the environmental health, public safety and economic well-being of their communities.

Project e-mail: lwilson@hayfork.net

Project Coordinators: Lisa J. Wilson (530) 628-4206 and Lynn Jungwirth (530) 628-4206

Contact: Franklin Dukes, (434) 924-2041

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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