Natural Resource Decision Making

Gravel mine in southern Utah

CSEPP has been actively involved with clients working in the field of natural resource management for decades. We apply our social ecology approaches to citizen engagement to secure benefits for both resource management agencies and the communities with which they work. Explore our accomplishments in this sector below with links to many theory and publication posts which elaborate our approach to natural resource management.

Project Highlights


Hardwood forest preservation in NE Connecticut

The Orton Family Foundation asked our help when its program to preserve the hardwood forests of northeast Connecticut was not gaining traction. Community description revealed deep-seated love for the local waterways, the power source of the textile industry that dominated the area in the 19th Century, and interest in tourism promoting “canoe trails” using these waterways. By expanding the focus of the project beyond the ecological of the hardwood forest to include the social and economic interests as well, local interest in the project grew significantly.

Inclusive growth in Vail, CO

Saved three Hispanic towns from gentrification from the rapid development of Vail, Colorado as the recreation economy expanded in the 1970s, developing 38 local businesses and instituting land use measures to protect the geographic integrity of the towns. We successfully integrated the local Hispanic community into the recreation economy which broadened choices and economic strategies for local residents.

Community based resource management with the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

Our projects with the Bureau of Land Management has spanned decades and include the following accomplishments:

  • Developed community-based courses with the National Training Center of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for its Partnership Series which was presented to over 60 communities and BLM district offices. We were the social ecology instructors to train participants about understanding and working with communities effectively by describing the informal systems of communication and support present in any community. List the courses: XXX. 1995-2002.
    Instructor for BLM’s “Planning Concepts” course offered through the National Training Center which included a community section and was offered in 52 settings for community members and BLM district staff, 1997-2010.
  • Assisted BLM district office in several locations deal with intractable problems which could be alleviated by fostering strong community ties.
  • Yuma Field Office, how to absorb ½ million snowbirds each winter in Quartzite so that emergency and basic services were in place.
  • St. George Field Office, how to integrate new monument designations with community interests in order to optimize local benefits.
  • Phoenix Field Office, how to deal with urban encroachment into the southern Bradshaw Mountains, accommodating greater uses while protecting resource integrity.
  • Willamette and Siuslaw National Forests and the Salem and Eugene BLM Districts, resulting in “A Field Guide for the Social Ecology of the Willamette Valley,” 2002.
  • Prineville and Baker City offices of BLM, ten counties of Northeast Oregon, 2005.
  • Conducted a regional assessment of about two-thirds of the state of Washington, 2011 for the Spokane Field Office.
  • Signed a thirty-year licensing agreement with BLM to make use of our Human Geographic Mapping process, 2001-2032. About 15 BLM offices have made active use of this mapping system to integrate community and agency interests. We conducted several regional social assessments to identify citizen issues and opportunities, and to develop communication strategies, often in advance of formal planning efforts.
Socially Responsive Management training with the US Forest Service (USFS)

Implemented a training program called Socially Responsive Management (SRM) for the USDA Forest Service, Region 2, between 1979 and 1984 for which we received the Gifford Pinchot Award in 1985.