Having a Say in What Happens

by Susan Mitchell

Superfund cleanup isn’t limited to the Silver Valley. A hundred years of mining has left a trail of contamination throughout the Coeur d’Alene River drainage and beyond. The next area slated for cleanup is the Lower Coeur d’Alene River Basin from Cataldo to Harrison.

A small group has been meeting since May 2010 to develop a way for citizens, stakeholders, and agencies to work together on cleanup in the Lower Basin. We’ve created the Lower Basin Collaborative. This collaborative model is currently used in Shoshone County for forest management and collaboratives are used in other parts of the country for land use management and environmental cleanup.

Why a Collaborative?

Collaboratives provide a way to address controversial natural resource issues, making sure everyone has a seat at the table. They’re achieving broad citizen, stakeholder, and agency satisfaction for several reasons. Everyone is invited to engage early in the process. Instead of suppressing differing views, conflicting interests are sought out and seen as desirable. Competing interests work out consensus-based solutions together. Participants work for outcomes that meet or exceed federal and state regulations, and agencies shift their focus to connect with, rather than direct, the collaborative effort.

If stakeholders work together, cleanup decisions can be made with everyone’s interests considered. We can work toward outcomes that everyone feels they can live with.

Reaching Out

We’re ready to launch the Lower Basin Collaborative and invite your participation. Cleanup in the Lower Basin is complex. One of our goals is to make sure you have the information you need.

If this process piques your interest, and you want to know more or be involved at any level, let us hear from you. Write us at LowerBasinCollaborative @gmail.com.

Cleanup affects your life—the place you live, the health of your family, and growth in your community. Getting involved gives you a say in the direction the cleanup takes.

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