Appendix G

Conflict Resolution in the Florida Everglades

At the beginning of January 2001, the Jacksonville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contacted the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution (the Institute) to request neutral assistance in resolving a long-standing interagency conflict related to the protection of the endangered Cape Sable seaside sparrow (CSSS). The request came at the suggestion of the Council on Environmental Quality in the Executive Office of the President. The Corps had completed a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) on an interim plan for protection of the CSSS, until the long-delayed ModWaters and C-111 projects could be completed. With the Institute's assistance, the EIS was completed in May 2002 (USAGE, 2002a).

The Institute's assistance was requested because of its unique role, as established by the U.S. Congress in 1998, to assist in the resolution of interagency, intergovernmental, and multistakeholder environmental, natural resource, and public lands conflicts. The Institute is part of the Morris K.Udall Foundation, an independent agency of the executive branch. The Institute serves as an impartial, nonpartisan institution providing professional neutral expertise, services, and resources to all parties involved in environmental disputes, regardless of who initiates or pays for the assistance.

With the concurrence of the Corps and the three other agencies involved — Everglades National Park, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the South Florida Water Management District—the Institute has taken a phased approach to the conflict-resolution effort, beginning with an assessment of the conflict situation followed by an initial meeting with the leadership of the four agencies. This initial interagency meeting was used to assess the agencies' individual and collective interests in pursuing a collaborative conflict-resolution effort and to determine appropriate next steps if there was sufficient mutual commitment to proceed. One of the options proposed was consideration of a multistakeholder collaborative EIS process for the upcoming Combined Structural and Operational Plan (CSOP) for the ModWaters and C-111 projects, which have been delayed for approximately a decade. The inability to resolve differences and build broad



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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE Appendix G Conflict Resolution in the Florida Everglades At the beginning of January 2001, the Jacksonville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contacted the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution (the Institute) to request neutral assistance in resolving a long-standing interagency conflict related to the protection of the endangered Cape Sable seaside sparrow (CSSS). The request came at the suggestion of the Council on Environmental Quality in the Executive Office of the President. The Corps had completed a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) on an interim plan for protection of the CSSS, until the long-delayed ModWaters and C-111 projects could be completed. With the Institute's assistance, the EIS was completed in May 2002 (USAGE, 2002a). The Institute's assistance was requested because of its unique role, as established by the U.S. Congress in 1998, to assist in the resolution of interagency, intergovernmental, and multistakeholder environmental, natural resource, and public lands conflicts. The Institute is part of the Morris K.Udall Foundation, an independent agency of the executive branch. The Institute serves as an impartial, nonpartisan institution providing professional neutral expertise, services, and resources to all parties involved in environmental disputes, regardless of who initiates or pays for the assistance. With the concurrence of the Corps and the three other agencies involved — Everglades National Park, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the South Florida Water Management District—the Institute has taken a phased approach to the conflict-resolution effort, beginning with an assessment of the conflict situation followed by an initial meeting with the leadership of the four agencies. This initial interagency meeting was used to assess the agencies' individual and collective interests in pursuing a collaborative conflict-resolution effort and to determine appropriate next steps if there was sufficient mutual commitment to proceed. One of the options proposed was consideration of a multistakeholder collaborative EIS process for the upcoming Combined Structural and Operational Plan (CSOP) for the ModWaters and C-111 projects, which have been delayed for approximately a decade. The inability to resolve differences and build broad

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SCIENCE AND THE GREATER EVERGLADES ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CRITICAL ECOSYSTEM STUDIES INITIATIVE consensus with other interested and affected stakeholders has been a major reason for this delay. In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, the Corps must complete an EIS for CSOP. Although an EIS is commonly viewed as a set of required procedural steps that federal agencies must follow, it can also serve as a framework for collaboration and consensus building with other federal, state, and local agencies and tribal governments, as well as with stakeholders and nongovernmental organizations. In CSOP, the four agencies have four common goals they hope to achieve through the collaborative EIS process: reaching an interagency agreement on CSOP building a broad consensus for a CSOP solution avoiding litigation building trust among the stakeholders Thus far, collaborative efforts among the four agencies have generated agreements on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that clarifies the roles of the four agencies in the CSOP EIS process and affirms their commitment to complete the EIS using a collaborative approach CSOP's purpose and objectives the base condition to which CSOP alternatives will be compared the need for a new hydrologic model to assist in evaluating impacts of various CSOP alternatives (the agencies have jointly developed the scope of work, they have agreed to share the cost of development of the new model, and they will sit together as an interagency selection committee to review and evaluate proposals) the sequence of modeling activities for the CSOP process Each step in the NEPA process, from identification and evaluation of alternatives through selection of a preferred alternative, will be addressed through the collaborative process. Although the agencies ' proposed ground rules provide that they will make decisions by consensus, the MOU makes it clear that the Corps is the lead agency in the EIS process and retains responsibility and authority for the final record of decision in the CSOP EIS. SOURCE: Analee Mayes, Consensus Builders, Inc., personal communication, 2002.