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Corps of Engineers Uses Mediation to Settle Hydropower Dispute

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Conflicts over the operation of dams and reservoirs, and their impacts on downstream land use and ecology, have increased dramatically over the last few years. Facility operators, such as the Corps of Engineers, often find themselves in the middle between conservation, flood control, recreation, landowner and hydropower interests, with entrenched positions and antagonistic relations. Such was the case with parties concerned about the operation of Harry S. Truman Dam and Reservoir, the largest flood control structure in Missouri, with a storage capacity of more than 5 million acre feet of water. This important reservoir is only slightly smaller than the adjoining Lake of the Ozarks, one of the premier recreation areas in the midwest. In the fall of 1988, the Corps of Engineers initiated a mediation effort involving the operation of the Dam and Reservoir which led to the resolution of serious long-standing issues in dispute. This case study analyzes the process and other factors that led to a successful outcome. The article is written from the perspective of the mediator, Christopher Moore, a Partner at CDR Associates in Boulder, Colorado. In preparing the case study, the mediator consulted most of the key parties to gain their perception and understanding of the events that led to the settlement. The mediator bears sole responsibility for the interpretation of the mediation that is presented here. The analysis covers the following topics the developmental history of the dispute and the determination of its ripeness for some form of alternative dispute resolution mechanism the selection of mediation as an appropriate procedure to address the conflict the identification, selection, and entry of the mediator pre-mediation work conducted by the intermediary with the parties to design the intervention strategy and condition them to work together a description of the process and meetings post-mediation negotiations and a discussion of why the parties settled.

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  • Psychology
  • Hydrology, Limnology and Potamology
  • Civil Engineering
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Water Pollution and Control

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