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July 29, 2010
In Reply Refer To:
2020 (200) P
Information Bulletin No. 2010-094
To:                   All WO and Field Officials
From:               Assistant Director, Renewable Resources and Planning
Subject:           National Natural Resources Policy Guides: Collaborative Stakeholder         Engagement and Appropriate Dispute Resolution and Negotiation Strategies
Program Areas:  All programs and offices having responsibilities related to natural resources in Renewable Resources and Land Use Planning, Minerals and Realty Management, the National Landscape Conservation System, and Fire and Aviation (collectively, natural resources).
Purpose:  Effective use of conflict prevention and dispute resolution processes can improve stakeholder relationships and reduce time-consuming and costly protests, appeals, and litigation.  This Information Bulletin (IB) transmits the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) policy guides on processes to prevent conflict or resolve disputes over issues involving natural resources. The Collaborative Stakeholder Engagement and Appropriate Dispute Resolution guide provides policy and strategies for utilizing “upstream” conflict prevention and “downstream” dispute resolution processes in BLM projects, plans, and decisions. The Negotiation Strategies guide supplements the negotiation section, providing more detailed strategies for attaining negotiated agreements and obtaining the most from agreements on natural resource issues. 

Background:  The BLM’s policy is to seek to use conflict prevention (collaborative stakeholder engagement) processes and conflict management (appropriate dispute resolution or ADR) processes as standard operating practice for projects, plans, and decisions, except under unusual conditions. Such processes can be undertaken by any of the following means: 1) where initiated by the BLM, 2) where initiated by stakeholders or appellants, or 3) where ordered or required by the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA), the Hearings Division, or a Court.  All BLM managers and staff are encouraged to initiate or participate in these processes with stakeholders or appellants to prevent, manage, or resolve conflict whenever appropriate. The BLM’s policy is to seek to enter into a process as requested, ordered, or required—except under unusual conditions, such as: 1) when constrained by law, regulation, or other mandates, 2) when a collaborative stakeholder engagement or ADR process is impractical based on prior experience, or 3) when IBLA, Hearings Division, or Court precedent needs to be established or reinforced.

Both upstream collaborative stakeholder engagement and downstream ADR processes can produce agreements and resolutions that are more creative, satisfying, and enduring than those imposed through conventional systems of conflict resolution (e.g., administrative adjudication, litigation, or legislation). Additionally, preventing or resolving conflict through these less formal processes can reduce or resolve protests, appeals, and litigation, resulting in savings of time and budget dollars as well as conservation of public resources. 

Accordingly, the BLM has produced the Collaborative Stakeholder Engagement and Appropriate Dispute Resolution guide, as well as the Negotiation Strategies guide, to provide policy, suggested strategies, and best management practices for many of the conflict prevention and dispute resolution processes most often utilized in the BLM. The guides also provide BLM case studies and resource-specific sidebars to highlight and further illustrate successful engagement in these processes.
Action:  Field and Washington Office (WO) officials are encouraged to distribute these guides to BLM employees involved in these processes, and to any members of Tribal, state, or local governments, other agencies, stakeholders, and the public who interact with the BLM through collaborative stakeholder engagement or ADR processes, such as members of stakeholder working groups (e.g., Resource Advisory Councils, collaboratives, and other community-based groups).
Electronic versions of the guide are available as a PDF from the ADR Program’s website at: www.blm.gov/adr. Hard copies of the guides are available from your State or Center’s Natural Resources ADR Advisor, from the ADR Program in the Washington Office, or from the Printed Materials Distribution Section of the National Operations Center.
More detailed information on these and other processes, as well as opportunities to build advanced skills and techniques, may be found in various National Training Center and external training courses, and by contacting the Bureau Dispute Resolution Manager or Dispute Resolution Specialists in the BLM’s ADR Program in the Washington Office.
Coordination:  The Collaborative Stakeholder Engagement and Appropriate Dispute Resolution and the Negotiation Strategies guides were coordinated by the BLM’s Collaborative Stakeholder Engagement and Appropriate Dispute Resolution Program (ADR Program) in the Office of the Assistant Director, Renewable Resources and Planning (WO-200) with the BLM’s ADR Advisory Council, which includes Natural Resources ADR Advisors in each State and Center, and the Department’s Interior Dispute Resolution Council, which includes the DOI Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution, the Office of the Solicitor, and all the bureaus of the Department, with layout and design work by the National Operations Center.
Contact:  If you have any questions, please contact Matt Magee, Acting Bureau Dispute Resolution Manager at 202-254-3326, or Matthew_Q_Magee@blm.gov.
Signed by:                                                       Authenticated by:
Edwin L. Roberson                                          Robert M. Williams
Assistant Director                                           Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Renewable Resources and Planning
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Last updated: 08-06-2010