Public Outreach & Engagement

Public outreach and engagement is an important component of any collaborative process. It is important to ensure the public has a mechanism to provide input in a meaningful way and the decision-makers demonstrate a commitment to evaluating public comment and reflecting back to the public how this was done.

Facilitated Solutions has had extensive experience in designing collaborative processes that ensure the public has ample opportunities to provide input prior to decision-making. Engaging the public is critical to the success of complex and controversial public policy initiatives.

The needs and interests of the public are an essential ingredient in reaching successful collaborative outcomes. Public participation workshops can be designed to work with stakeholders and affected interests to evaluate a range of issues and options, to help gauge the level of support for a broad range of issues, and to provide valuable feedback and input. A series of iterative workshops allows for the development of greater consensus, with each workshop building on the work product of the previous and offering valuable input to an agency, NGO, association or corporation. Typical public outreach activities include interactive workshops, public or community meetings, advisory groups, one-on-one meetings, websites, and surveys.

Project Examples of Public Outreach & Engagement:

Deepwater BP Oil Spill Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) NOAA March – May 2011. Facilitated and moderated public scoping meetings in Florida, Alabama and Texas to solicit public comments regarding ideas for broad restoration types that should be considered for compensating the public for resources injured and lost human use of the resources as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Trustees are preparing a PEIS to look at a range of restoration types that could be used to compensate the public for the resources exposed to oil and ultimately determined to have been injured. The final PEIS will serve as a comprehensive scientific planning and organizational tool for fulfilling legal mandates and developing and evaluating the impacts of specific restoration activities.

NOAA Saltwater Recreational Fishing Summit. January 2010 – May 2010. Worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries to design, facilitate and report on a national Saltwater Recreational Fishing Summit, with participants from all six NOAA regions and the full spectrum of recreational saltwater fisheries representatives. The Summit was designed to achieve the following objectives:
·To hear from anglers and the industry and develop a shared understanding of saltwater recreational fishing’s value and the challenges faced;
·To identify and create a shared vision for an effective and desired NOAA and Saltwater Fishing Community relationship and for successful saltwater recreational fisheries over the next decade;
·To identify potential actions in the context of the vision of success that address the key challenges faced and provide a path forward;
·To jointly evaluate, identify and test critical proposed recommendations to address key challenges; and,
·To identify, discuss and seek commitment on next steps for implementing the Summit recommendations and ensuring follow-up.

The Summit was conducted on April 16 – 17, 2010, and featured participation from Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator. The FCRC assisted participants to identify a vision for a successful recreational saltwater fishery, to identify and prioritize key challenges to achieving the successful vision of the fishery, and to identify and rank a range of recommendations/options to address the key challenges.

USEPA National Bed Bug Summit. April 2009. Worked with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) staff to design and facilitate a successful National Bed Bug Summit. Responsibilities included process design, agenda consultation, facilitation, and assisting Summit participants to deliver a package of recommendations to the United States Environmental Protection Agency regarding enhancing the control of bed bugs.