NEPA Task Force (2002-04)|
Council on Environmental Quality
Compendium of Useful Practices
Collaboration - Federal and Intergovernmental
This case study focuses on practices that have proven successful in building collaboration among federal agencies and with the public in managing public lands.
Project: Las Cienegas National Conservation Area
Practice: Consensus-based Management
Agency: Bureau of Land Management
Involved Parties: Local communities including Sonoita, Elgin, Patagonia, Huachuca City, Sierra Vista, Nogales, Tucson and Phoenix; the Forest Service; National Resources Conservation Service; US Fish and Wildlife Service; US Geological Survey; Arizona Game and Fish; Arizona State Land Department; Pima County Parks and Recreation; Santa Cruz County; and numerous user groups and private citizens.
Point of Contact: Karen Simms, (520) 258-7200, Karen_simms@blm.gov
Dates: Began: 1995. Ended: Collaboration is ongoing.
Project Description: In the early 1990s, BLM began a traditional planning process following its acquisition of public lands in what was then called the Empire-Cienega Resource Conservation Area. The process failed due to the limited public participation opportunities and increasing public polarization and divisiveness over issues. Recognizing the need for increased stakeholder involvement, BLM reinitiated the process in 1995. Instead of relying on traditional planning methods, BLM initiated a consensus based, collaborative management approach.
The objective of this project was to create a land use plan for a 170,558 acre area that included 49,000 acres of public lands. BLM successfully overcame historical culture clashes and resource conflicts through partnership with citizens, local governments and conservation and user groups concerned about the health of the Cienegas Creek Watershed. The collaboration resulted in the creation of the Sonoita Valley Planning Partnership and the successful establishment of the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area.
Value as a Practice:
Results: Achieved community oriented resolutions to local and national issues affecting public land resources. Achieved consensus and stakeholder buy-in on potentially controversial land use issues such as recreation opportunities, conservation areas, endangered species management and livestock grazing.
Challenges Overcome: Previously unsuccessful attempts to initiate land use plans for this area were overcome by increasing stakeholder involvement in all aspects of planning through consensus based management and an open participatory process. Conflicts resulting from rapid urban growth and increased demands on land resources were overcome through partnership and collaboration.
Challenges Remaining: Continuing the successful implementation of the goals and management prescriptions articulated in the land use plans.