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University of Nebraska Public Policy Center

Missouri River Ecosystem Restoration Plan (MRERP)

The Public Policy Center and the Werner Institute for Negotiation & Dispute Resolution (Creighton University’s School of Law) were contracted by the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution to facilitate civic engagement meetings to gather citizen input regarding the Missouri River Ecosystem Restoration Plan. This long-term restoration plan (it will take years to complete) is being led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It is aimed at identifying the long-term actions needed to restore the ecosystem functions, mitigate habitat losses, and recover native fish and wildlife on the river, all while seeking to balance with social, economic and cultural values for future generations. The project involves citizens, government, businesses, and others in the six states along the Missouri River basin (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota).

The PPC and Werner Institute facilitated the Iowa and Nebraska discussions. The day-long meetings convened citizens of diverse backgrounds and connections to the river to talk about the social, community and economic values of the river from their own perspectives. The meetings also involved group visioning of future scenarios as well as input for next steps of the restoration plan. The civic engagement meetings enabled the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to gather valuable input from citizens. It also allowed participants to hear other perspectives about the river’s value and helped them acknowledge some connections between interests and values that may not have otherwise seemed compatible.

Please visit the project website for more information: www.mrerp.org.

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