Service Areas: Consensus Building
On February 2, 2014 between 30,000 and 39,000 tons of coal ash and approximately 24 to 27 million gallons of ash pond water from the Duke Energy Dan River Steam Station were released into the Dan River. As part of its response to this event, Duke Energy contracted with IEN to provide impartial process design and facilitation of a community Stakeholder Team to identify community concerns and seek community consensus for solutions that address the impacts of the coal ash release. The facilitation team also included Dr. Martha Walker of Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE). The Dan River Basin... Continue reading →
A new professional certificate is being developed to assist in the Bay cleanup effort. Local governments wish to know who they can trust to design and install BMPs that will qualify and count toward their TMDL load reductions goals. Others wish to raise the bar, so that landscape professionals become more knowledgeable about Bay-appropriate design and BMPs, in design, implementation, and maintenance. IEN has been asked to serve as facilitator for the steering committee consensus decision-making meetings, led by a partnership of Wetlands Watch, the... Continue reading →
Employees of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality participated in a two-day training provided by IEN in Summer 2015 on interest-based negotiation (IBN). In 2016, IEN conducted another two-day training in IBN as well as a separate two-day training in designing and facilitating community engagement.
(2012) IEN worked with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation to facilitate separate discussions for the MS4 General Permit RAP, the Construction General Permit RAP, and the Nutrient Trading RAP. The goals of the negotations were: to ensure that all RAP members have an opportunity to be heard and are able to contribute to discussions, to determine key issues of concern to RAP members and facilitate discussions of how proposed regulatory amendments address those concerns, and to help identify consensus and remaining differences concerning draft proposed regulations.
The Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute is a program for emerging leaders confronted with Virginia's most pressing natural resource issues who seek new skills in conflict resolution and collaborative problem solving. VNRLI is comprised of six sessions held over nine months in regions across Virginia, during which Fellows learn about the important environmental issues facing our state through a combination of mini-lectures, experiential exercises, stakeholder panel discussions, and field trips. You can find more information about the program... Continue reading →
One of the United States’ most beautiful places is also the home of one of its most shameful episodes. Bainbridge Island, home to some twenty-three thousand people, has gorgeous views of Mt. Rainier, the Seattle skyline, and the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges. On March 30, 1942, 227 Bainbridge Island men, women and children of Japanese ancestry – more than half of whom were United States citizens – began their long trek into betrayal, as they left the island under armed guard to what was for them an unknown destination. These were the first of more than 120,000 citizens and immigrants... Continue reading →
(2014) The U.S. 250 link across the Rivanna River known locally as Free Bridge is a key connector for local and regional traffic, but the level of service for the 53,000 daily vehicles that cross it is already grossly inadequate and will be 25 percent worse by 2040. In response, the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) and Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) adopted an ecosystem-based approach to developing infrastructure project alternatives called “Eco-Logical” and secured a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) grant to fund a related... Continue reading →
(2000) With facilitation by the IEN, a twenty-two member Advisory Committee met for six all-day meetings to discuss and debate how best to protect public health, minimize the need for remedial action, and reduce permitting delays for Virginia's onsite septic system permitting and inspection program. Following a charge by the General Assembly to privatize the onsite septic system program, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) had been grappling with the difficult issues associated with privatization of functions that required continued public oversight. The Committee developed a consensus... Continue reading →
(2014) The Elizabeth River Eastern Branch Strategy is being developed by multiple stakeholders within the Elizabeth River watershed. The Institute, working with the Elizabeth River Project, served as facilitator throughout the project, including four large group meetings. After creating the vision below, the group reached consensus on a series of goals and actions intended to identify and address contamination, restore wildlife habitat, and engage the public. The initial planning phase was completed in August 2014, with implementation expected to take a number of years. A healthy, enduring... Continue reading →
(1999 - 2000) The Town of Shenandoah lies just below Shenandoah National Park. A Brownfields Assessment Pilot grant, finalized in October 1998, provided $200,000 to help the town determine any contamination present in the soil or groundwater of the 65-acre \"Big Gem\" site, where an iron furnace had long ago ceased operations, and to create a cleanup and redevelopment plan. To structure the process, the EPA offered the help of the Harrisonburg Community Mediation Center and the Institute for Environmental Negotiation to the Town of Shenandoah. For the two year process that followed, IEN... Continue reading →