Virginia Department of Health: Waterworks Regulations


The Office of Drinking Water within the Virginia Department of Health ensures that all Virginians have access to affordable and safe drinking water. In the fall of 2014, the Office of Drinking Water and the Institute for Environmental Negotiation are working together to host a series of stakeholder discussions to advise the agency on its amendments to the Waterworks Regulations (12VAC5-590). This regulatory advisory panel aims to improve content and readability, clarify the regulation, and address modern practices already in use by water systems providers within Virginia. This coordinated effort will result in new state waterworks regulations that truly reflect the needs of providers within the state. Minutes are available on Virginia Townhall.

Virginia Sea Grant: Design Competition Facilitation


Virginia Sea Grant’s (VSG) annual symposium in Spring 2014 planned a discussion session around the idea of launching a formal design competition for structural and land use approaches to sea level rise in Virginia. Virginia’s coastal zone is at great risk from sea level rise, ranking second in the nation behind New Orleans. In other states, design competitions have been used successfully to help local governments visualize the problems, and provide a political impetus for making changes to plan for sea level rise. With funding from VSG, IEN worked with the session leaders to design and facilitate a process for symposium participant engagement. During this session participants were able to identify key goals for the design competition, key disciplines and groups who should be encouraged to participate in the competition, and also the types of sea level rise challenges that the competition should address.

American Forest Foundation: National Urban & Community Forestry Advisory Council Ten-Year Plan

(2014 – Present)

Federal legislation requires that an Action Plan for America’s urban and community forests be developed every ten years. The next Plan, which will cover 2016-2026, is intended to guide the work of the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council (NUCFAC) in its grant-making and advisory capacity, as well as the urban and community forestry (UCF) community of practice at all levels of work, from grassroots nonprofits to academic researchers, private practitioners and local and state governments. A core project team was assembled in April 2014 under the leadership of American Forests Foundation (AFF), with the University of Virginia’s Institute for Environmental Negotiation (IEN) serving as the project leader, and including other team members from Dialogue & Design, University of Maryland Center for Economic Finance, University of Washington, and UVa McIntyre School of Commerce. IEN is working with both a national-level Advisory Team and a task-oriented Project Team to design the strategic planning process that will produce an effective plan by October 2015.The next ten-year action plan is considered a significant opportunity to step back to look at the big picture. What has been happening with our nation’s urban and community forests over the past ten years, what have we learned, where have we made progress, and what are the emerging needs? It is also considered a significant opportunity to engage the UCF Community of Practice, to learn from people working at all levels and to elicit their needs, insights, visions and hopes for the next ten years.

Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission: Working Waterfront Workshop

Virginia’s coastal communities have a long history of active, bustling waterfronts that host  a variety of businesses oriented to commercial and recreational fishermen, boaters, the seafood industry, and other water-dependent jobs. The Virginia Coastal Program is developing a plan to help preserve working waterfronts, enhance their economic viability and ensure continued contributions to the fabric of life in the Commonwealth’s coastal zone. The Working Waterfront Workshop in Spring 2014 focused on defining what working waterfronts are, developing consistent inventories, and framing issues and opportunities for our waterfronts. The IEN’s role was to assist the development of an agenda that included participant engagement, to facilitate the participant discussions throughout the workshop, and to provide a wrap-up summary of key ideas that emerged during the workshop.

Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay: Chesapeake Business Forum


IEN designed and facilitated the Chesapeake Bay Business Forum: Linking Business with the Bay, held in Richmond in March 2014. Attended by businesses of all sizes and types in the Bay watershed, the Forum was initiated and hosted by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. The Forum was the first of several gatherings aimed at increasing the level of engagement with businesses to create strong, effective, and rewarding partnerships to assist the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort. Nearly 100 corporate and small business leaders met to share experiences about their sustainability programs that benefit the Bay and its rivers, to identify business needs and opportunities to enhance their environmental programs, and to discuss developing a new Businesses for the Bay program.

The IEN worked with the Alliance to develop an interactive agenda that sparked dialogue, provided attendees a place to learn from each other, share innovative environmental restoration practices and environmental policy, and develop ways of working together in the future. The process included a dynamic mix of speakers, small group discussions and instant polling. Participants developed a number of ideas for ways the Alliance could work with businesses to inspire continued progress toward healthy rivers and a restored Chesapeake Bay, and also gave a clear mandate for the Alliance to create a new version of a Businesses for Bay program.

Conflict Resolution & Public Participation Center of Expertise (CPCX)

(2013 – 2014)

Frank Dukes, Director of the Institute for Environmental Negotiation (IEN), has spent the last year working as a visiting scholar at the Conflict Resolution & Public Participation Center of Expertise (CPCX), Institute for Water Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Besides interacting periodically with agency staff about the range of issues that the Corps of Engineers addresses, Frank and graduate interns have also assisted with the following projects:

  • Developing the CPCX five-year strategic plan for 2014-2019;
  • Developing ways of evaluating the Corps’ collaborative capacity;
  • Writing and reviewing case studies and other materials.
  • Leading webinars on topics of interest to the Corps’ “Community of practice,” a group of nearly 400 staff for helping the Corps increase its collaborative capacity.

Improving Washington & Old Dominion Trail Safety: A Stakeholder Workshop


The Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail, spanning 45 miles from Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C. into rural Loudoun County, is a popular recreational amenity, commuter corridor, equestrian path, and fitness resource for many diverse user groups. As the region has developed, the trail has become both more popular and more congested, posing numerous safety concerns. The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA), which owns and manages the trail, contracted with IEN to plan and host a stakeholder workshop, with the goal of developing a set of priority recommendations to guide enhancements to the trail and identify other methods for improving safety.

IEN conducted pre-workshop interviews with key stakeholders and developed an online survey that garnered almost 1,700 responses. The results of these efforts informed the design of an all-day workshop, held at NVRPA’s beautiful Algonkian Regional Park in Sterling, Virginia. The 52 participants at the workshop heard informative presentations, met in small, facilitated groups to discuss specific safety strategies, and ultimately voted on each strategy as a large group, in terms of effectiveness for improving safety and feasibility for implementation. Five overarching priority recommendations emerged to provide guidance to NVRPA and its partners in continuing to make safety improvements on the trail. Workshop attendees expressed appreciation the NVRPA sought their input on this important issue.

Eco-Logical Pilot Project—Free Bridge Area Congestion Relief


The U.S. 250 link across the Rivanna River known locally as Free Bridge is a key connector for local and regional traffic, but the level of service for the 53,000 daily vehicles that cross it is already grossly inadequate and will be 25 percent worse by 2040. In response, the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) and Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) adopted an ecosystem-based approach to developing infrastructure project alternatives called “Eco-Logical” and secured a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) grant to fund a related stakeholder effort.

The Eco-Logical approach aims to collaboratively develop project ideas in an effort to address significant ecological impacts early in a project’s development phase. IEN was contracted to facilitate an approximately 30-member Stakeholder Team tasked with two goals: (1) testing the Eco-Logical approach and the MPO’s related Regional Eco-Logical Framework tool and (2) developing options to alleviate congestion over Free Bridge. The Team, composed of members who represent environmental, recreational, community, economic interests, and local citizens, began meeting every other month in November 2013 and is set to complete its work in November 2014. The group began by gaining an understanding of the issues and sharing diverse perspectives, progressed through developing and evaluating alternatives, and will conclude by agreeing on preferred alternatives and identifying mitigation options.

Wyckoff/Eagle Harbor Superfund Redevelopment

One of the United States’ most beautiful places is also the home of one of its most shameful episodes.

Bainbridge Island, home to some twenty-three thousand people, has gorgeous views of Mt. Rainier, the Seattle skyline, and the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges. On March 30, 1942, 227 Bainbridge Island men, women and children of Japanese ancestry – more than half of whom were United States citizens – began their long trek into betrayal, as they left the island under armed guard to what was for them an unknown destination. These were the first of more than 120,000 citizens and immigrants in the entire country to be imprisoned under Presidential Executive Order 9066 and Civilian Exclusion Order No. 1. They did not know at the time that their imprisonment would last for three long years and take them from Manzanar in California’s Mojave Desert to Minodoka Relocation Center in Idaho, or that only 150 of them would eventually return.

These residents had less than one week’s notice to close their businesses, store their belongings, make arrangements for their homes and land, and choose which parts of their lives to fit within a single suitcase. Those who were able to return came back to find a changed landscape. Some found a welcome, and their property maintained by caring neighbors. Others found nothing remaining for them.

Bainbridge from Ferry

Fast forward some fifty years or so. Bainbridge Island is again in the news for a shameful event. A creosote plant severely contaminated the harbor with wastewater discharged directly into the water and treated timber stored in the waters, while shipyard pollution contributed dangerous chemicals and heavy metals to those same waters. The Environmental Protection Agency placed the site on the “National Priorities List,” more commonly known as “Superfund,” reserved for those sites most harmful to human health and the environment.

This time, though, the challenge of dealing with economic loss and contamination is prompting a focus on transition rather than change. Besides the complex and long-term cleanup that has occurred and that continues today, the Island residents are finding a way to recover both land and community. The community is taking a site that has been contaminated both physically and psychically and turning it into a place of memory and education.

Wyckoff Site from Ferry0007

The site of the memorial will be at the former Eagledale ferry landing, the very location that saw the Japanese-Americans leave the Island. The vision is for a memorial area that is evocative and contemplative with the power to instruct future generations about the injustices of the past and the fragility of assumed rights. Perhaps most importantly, the memorial will commemorate and honor the strength and perseverance of the people involved and celebrates the capacity of human beings to heal, forgive and care for one another. 

Designed by nationally-recognized architect Johnpaul Jones of the Seattle firm Jones & Jones – designer of several award-winning major projects including the new National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C. – the centerpiece of the memorial design is a long walkway towards Eagle Harbor, recreating the walk taken by those islanders who were forced to leave their homes in 1942. Visitors will be literally walking on the same path in “the footsteps of history.”

The design elements include a 272 foot-long “story wall” that will contain the names of all 272 Japanese American residents who lived on the island in 1942. In chronological fashion the wall will tell their American story. At the end of the story wall near the harbor’s edge, a 150 foot pier – one foot for each of the 150 people who returned to Bainbridge Island – will rise from the same spot of the former Eagledale ferry dock, where visitors can experience a literal and symbolic departure from the land and freedom.

Future phases include a 5,000 square-foot interpretive/research center, a meeting room, a contemplative seating area, sculptures and other historical designated areas.

Memorial Committee

Led by the planning consulting firm E2, IEN was part of a team that worked with EPA’s Superfund Redevelopment Program and other site stakeholders, including The City of Bainbridge Island, Bainbridge Island Nikkei WWII Exclusion Memorial Committee, and EPA Region 10, in order to create a reuse action plan for the Wyckoff/Eagle Harbor Superfund site.  This collaborative effort involved an interdisciplinary approach to reuse planning that addressed limitations, opportunities, and action items in each of the following areas of concern:

  • EPA and Remedial Status
  • Site Acquisition and Trustee Issues
  • Site Design and Context
  • Process for Facilitated Stakeholder Involvement, Consensus Building and Community Support
  • Analysis of Potential Implementation Resources and Alliances