Natural Resources Collaborative Stakeholder Engagement and ADR
The BLM strongly supports the use of conflict prevention, conflict management, and conflict resolution processes and strategies in natural resources programs. ADR Program activities in natural resources include a wide range of collaborative stakeholder engagement processes and strategies that help to prevent, manage, or resolve conflict related to the Bureau’s land management activities. The processes and activities engage a wide range of stakeholders, from the public and government, in all phases of the BLM’s decision making and implementation process.
A major focus of the natural resources component of the ADR Program is "upstream," early, preventive collaborative stakeholder engagement on specific issues with the general public; Tribal, State, and local governments; other stakeholders; and contractors. Collaborative stakeholder working groups provide a forum to prevent future conflict wherever possible and to address existing and known potential disputes. BLM participation in stakeholder working groups, in some instances, may be limited by the Federal Advisory Committee Act.
Natural Resources ADR includes efforts to resolve disputes that have already entered a formal dispute forum, such as appeals, protests, and litigation. In particular, the use of direct negotiations and other forms of ADR and collaborative stakeholder engagement in cases before the Interior Board of Land Appeals has been increasing in recent years.
Third-party neutrals are a common element in many natural resources ADR processes. Neutrals assist parties in identifying common ground, communicating more effectively, and managing the procedural aspects of ADR engagement. The BLM ADR Program can assist in the selection of an appropriate neutral for specific ADR processes.
The ADR Program has also produced a Field Guide on Collaborative Stakeholder Engagement and ADR processes and strategies for natural resources, availabe here, as well as a companion Field Guide specifically on natural resources Negotiation, available here. A Natural Resources Collaborative Stakeholder Engagement and ADR section for the BLM Manual is also in preperation.