Case StudiesUrban and Rural Reserves Consensus
Urban and Rural Reserves Consensus
In 2007, the Oregon legislature passed Senate Bill 1011 to address uncertainties and conflicts associated with the existing land use planning system. This legislation requires agreement from three counties and Metro (a regional government in the Portland area that oversees land-use planning and maintains the urban growth boundary in compliance with state law) on how best to establish urban and rural reserves for growth over the next 40 to 50 years. Through a Kearns & West facilitated Steering Committee that consisted of more than 20 stakeholders representing diverse interests in the region, elected officials from each of the governments received recommendations and advice on regional planning efforts. Kearns & West also provided neutral facilitation and process support to the elected officials as they sought to make policy recommendations that addressed the recommendations and concerns of the Steering Committee and established consensus based urban and rural reserve designations. Following a two-and-a-half-year negotiation, a historic consensus was reached, ensuring that more than 272,000 acres of farmland, forestland, and natural resources were protected for future generations and identified nearly 28,000 acres for future population growth, jobs, homes and neighborhoods. No other metropolitan region had ever attempted a comprehensive program of this magnitude.
Pelton Round Butte Shoreline Management Plan
Portland General Electric
Portland General Electric (PGE) and the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon (Licensees) were required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to develop a Shoreline Management Plan to guide new development and resource protection on the shorelines of Lake Billy Chinook and Lake Simtustus in consultation with the Shoreline Management Working Group (SMWG). During the public comment period, concerns were raised regarding members of the public not having been involved in the pre-filing consultation process. Kearns & West convened a series of public meetings to update attendees on the Pelton Round Butte Shoreline Management Plan, answer questions, accept feedback, provide for group discussion and present a proposed process for resolving issues. Based on these recommendations, the licensees agreed to expand the SMWG to include five representatives of the public and to initiate a facilitated consultation process with the expanded SMWG to draft a revised SMP. Kearns & West then designed a collaborative process, facilitated SMWG meetings and assisted the group in developing a revised Shoreline Management Plan that achieved full consensus among all SMWG members.
U.S. Department of Agriculture U.S. Forest Service
The U.S. Forest Service Eastern Region includes nine of the country’s top 20 metropolitan areas, four times more than any other Forest Service region. The Urban Connections program worked to engage urban constituents, a stakeholder group that posed a challenge. In 2000, the Forest Service asked Kearns & West to conduct research to determine urban stakeholders’ values, current perceptions of the forests, and their potential for more involvement with national forest affiliated activities. This research included interviews with more than 600 people in the cities of Boston, Detroit and Minneapolis. The findings revealed that the national forests are very important to urban dwellers, though a large majority were unaware the Forest Service manages the national forests, and about half felt uninformed about Forest Service activities. With this insight, Kearns & West developed the Urban Connections communications plan, which included goals, strategies and activities for the Forest Service to raise awareness of natural resource issues and agency activities and to build stronger relationships with the urban community, including conducting a collaborative working group. Kearns & West also helped implement the Urban Connections program to establish partnerships. Ultimately, a network of relationships with engaged stakeholders was created that continues to achieve the goals of the program — stewardship of the forests, partnerships with urban stakeholders, information sharing and involvement, and improving the Forest Service’s organizational effectiveness. The program won a national Forest Service award for its innovation.
Butte Regional Habitat Conservation Plan/Natural Community Conservation Plan
Butte County, California, Association of Governments
The Butte Regional Habitat Conservation Plan/Natural Community Conservation Plan (HCP/NCCP) is being coordinated by the Butte County Association of Governments (BCAG) on behalf of the cities of Biggs, Chico, Gridley, Oroville and Butte. The HCP/NCCP is a voluntary plan that provides comprehensive species, wetlands and ecosystem conservation and contributes to the recovery of endangered species within the plan area while also providing a more efficient process for environmental permitting. Kearns & West provided public involvement and outreach support to BCAG as it began to formulate its HCP/NCCP. Kearns & West conducted regional public involvement workshops to provide information to community members and developed outreach materials such as newsletters, brochures and press releases to inform the broader public about the HCP/NCCP process and status. The first set of public outreach workshops introduced the HCP/NCCP process to the broader public, while the upcoming second set of workshops will provide a process update on the HCP/NCCP once substantial progress has been made.
Land Use & Natural Resources
The human population is growing at an unprecedented pace, demands on natural resources are ever-increasing, and the implications of climate change are yet to be fully understood. These dynamics impact natural resources and land use planning as well as management and policy development efforts, creating complicated and often controversial public involvement, consensus-building and decisionmaking scenarios.
Now more than ever, it is critical to design processes that effectively bring together diverse stakeholders to develop mutually satisfying results around complex science- and policy-related land management, growth, and natural resource management issues and solutions.
Kearns & West specializes in:
- Biodiversity and Resource Conservation
- Ecosystem Based Management for watersheds, regions
- Ecosystem Marketplaces
- Ecosystem Restoration
- Habitat Conservation Plans
- Land Use Planning and Conservation
- NEPA Processes
- Protected Species and Habitats
- Regional Resource Management Plans
- Travel Management Plans
- Urban Growth Boundaries