An Oregon Partnership in Motion, New Video

The following story is a guest post from Melissa Speeg, Communications Coordinator for the High Desert Partnership, a key partner in IWJV's efforts in Southern Oregon-Northeastern California.

Working cooperatively is almost a necessity in Harney County, Oregon, but it is easier said than done. It often takes the support of an organization that does not take a position on issues to bring people together. This is the basis of what we do. We like to think of ourselves as the organization that provides the backbone support. Our partners find us to be capable and reliable in the work we do, which is time consuming, sometimes tedious but always necessary and very rewarding when positive ecological, economic and social advancements are made in our community. 

The High Desert Partnership exists because of the passion and dedication of the board of directors and staff. The basis for The Partnership's work is to use the collaborative process.  The Partnership stresses to stakeholders that they focus on the process of decision-making. We bring together the community to address their most pressing challenges and needs using the following collaborative principles:

  • Using a neutral facilitator
  • Empowering all stakeholders in initiatives
  • Utilizing consensus based decision making
  • Providing for effective communication
  • Ensuring equality
  • Supporting groups to develop a conceptual framework
  • Gauging impact

Our Harney Basin Wetlands Initiative is attracting attention across the Intermountain West and beyond as a model for how collaborative approaches to conservation can generate consensus among diverse interests and leverage large long-term investments on both public and private lands.  The collaborative planning process used to develop Malheur National Wildlife Refuge's comprehensive conservation plan laid the groundwork for this. The resulting relationships, communication and shared commitment to science and adaptive management that came out of that process have provided the foundations for the broader partnership.  People talk a lot about landscape-scale conservation these days; the Harney Basin is one of the few places where the pieces are now in place to actually make it work.  

This beautiful video speaks to the tremendous value of the partnerships working to enhance conditions on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding private lands in Harney Basin. The issues facing Harney Basin are larger than any one person, group or agency can address alone, but together Harney Basin Wetlands Initiative partners are developing meaningful solutions to complex problems such as invasive carp and protecting wetland meadows. 

Do you think Harney Basin Wetlands Initiative is something you are interested in helping? Check out their How to Help page to see how you can contribute.