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8. Public engagement

Strategy

On an ongoing basis, the Council will educate and involve Northwest citizens to develop, implement, and improve understanding of the fish and wildlife program and the Council, and to promote successful ecosystem management.

Rationale

The Act requires the Council to provide for the participation and consultation of the Pacific Northwest states; local governments; electricity consumers; customers of Bonneville; users of the Columbia River System including federal and state fish and wildlife agencies and appropriate Indian tribes; and the public in formulating regional power policies that are reflected in the Council’s Northwest Power Plan and the fish and wildlife program, which is part of the power plan. Public involvement and understanding will ensure that management decisions are more sustainable.

Principles

The public outreach and involvement strategy, actions, and anticipated outcomes are based on the following principles articulated by the Council’s Independent Scientific Advisory Board [see the ISAB’s Review of the 2009 Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program]:

  • Actively engage the general public, landowners, county planners, traditional stakeholders, and other groups early in the program-planning process.
  • Strengthen outreach to citizens, landowners, and other groups with diverse and non-traditional interests to engage in the implementation of the resulting program.
  • Enhance the use of social media and other emerging social connectivity tools and measure the effectiveness of this social engagement as part of an evaluation of program success within the limits of the Council’s Public Affairs budget and personnel.
  • Create incentives for the general public to engage through narratives and stories linking personal well-being and personal commitment to landscapes and emphasizing benefits that come from ecological goods and services beyond simple numbers of fish.
  • Develop incentives to support restoration and conservation (i.e., provide tangible support for efforts that help achieve the program vision).
  • Support and champion organizations that effectively support productive partnerships among the relevant sciences, between science, management, and the public, and across social and ecological boundaries, facilitating and supporting non-traditional organizations and approaches that can bring new capacity and vision to landscape and ecosystem approaches.

General measures

  • The Council will inform and involve the public including elected officials through print, electronic, and social media; documents posted on the Council website and made available through public websites and libraries; updates of subbasin dashboards on the Council’s website; comment periods on draft fish and wildlife programs (and reports on these hearings and comments); general and specific comment periods with our subbasin partners at Council meetings, including leveraging other opportunities in addition to regular Council meetings.
  • The Council, in partnership with Bonneville and other interested parties, will publicly recognize and acknowledge entities that provide good examples of productive partnerships across social and ecological boundaries.
  • The Council will monitor the success of its outreach and involvement efforts.

Link to subbasin plans

See the Council’s subbasin plans for information pertaining to program-funded work at a subbasin level and the local planning groups.

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