Facilitation and Mediation

Experience and Case List

Facilitation and Mediation:

Ed Sheets has over 45 years of experience working to build consensus with a broad range of organizations. He has worked as an independent consultant since 1996, focusing on facilitating and mediating complex natural resource disputes. He also worked to resolve complex issues in his positions as executive director of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, director of the Washington State Energy Office, and as special assistant to the late United States Senator Warren Magnuson.

As an independent consultant, he has served as a neutral facilitator/mediator in a number of settlements. As a facilitator/mediator, Ed works with the parties to develop the settlement process, schedules and chairs meetings and conference calls, and identifies and tracks follow up actions. It is often difficult for the parties in a negotiation to recognize potential areas of agreement, offer compromise language, or keep track of all of the outstanding issues. As a neutral facilitator /mediator Ed works with the parties to help find common ground on an issue and helps shape acceptable language. He also helps keep the process moving; parties can get fixated on an issue and need someone to push for resolution and then move to the next set of issues.

Case List and Experience:

Klamath Basin Settlement Agreements: Facilitator/mediator for the Klamath Settlement. He successfully facilitated/mediated settlements among more than 50 organizations, including seven federal agencies, the states of Oregon and California, three Indian tribes, farmers and ranchers, environmental organizations, and others to resolve a range of complex water, power, and fish and wildlife issues in the Klamath Basin.  See Klamath Agreements tab for more information.

Montana Water Rights Settlement: Facilitator for Flathead Indian Reservation Water Rights Settlement. He worked as the neutral facilitator to assist the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, State of Montana, the Federal government, and irrigators in the negotiation of a comprehensive water rights settlement on the Flathead Indian Reservation. The parties reached a settlement that was approved by the Montana Legislature, the U.S. Congress, and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Also assisted in the implementation of the settlement.  See: http://www.dnrc.mt.gov/rwrcc/Compacts/CSKT/Default.asp

Lewiston Orchards Project Water Exchange: Facilitator for the development of water exchange and title transfer project involving the Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Nez Perce Tribe, and Lewiston Orchards Irrigation District. Assisting the parties in the implementation of the settlement and preparation of a implementation plans.

Wapato Irrigation District Settlement: Facilitator for a settlement between the Department of the Interior and Yakama Nation regarding operations, maintenance, and construction issues. Assisted in the implementation of the settlement.

U.S. v Anderson Mediation: Mediator for a settlement among the Washington Department of Ecology, Spokane Tribe, U.S. Department of the Interior, and U.S. Department of Justice.

Avista rights of ways mediation: Appointed to mediate agreements regarding rights of ways for electrical power lines on the Nez Perce Reservation.

Snake River Water Settlement: Facilitated the Snake River Basin Water Rights Settlement. Successfully facilitated a process for nine federal agencies, the State of Idaho, the Nez Perce Tribe, 62 cities and towns, and 78 Idaho irrigation districts to implement a complex settlement of water rights claims and Endangered Species Act issues. The Settlement was completed on the ambitious schedule established by the parties. He also facilitated the implementation of the Settlement for several years. See http://www.srba.state.id.us.

Columbia River Treaty: Facilitated the 15 Columbia Basin Indian tribes in the development of a common views document and other position papers for the review and potential modification of the Columbia River Treaty. Also facilitated meetings between the tribes and federal agencies.  This treaty between the United States and Canada is being reviewed by both countries and can be continued, terminated, or potentially revised. See: http://www.critfc.org/tribal-treaty-fishing-rights/policy-support/columbia-river-treaty/

Klamath ESA Consultation: Facilitated the ESA consultation process for the Klamath Reclamation Project working with the Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Marine Fisheries Service. The result was a joint FWS and NMFS biological opinion. See: https://www.usbr.gov/mp/kbao/

Puget Sound Culverts Case: Facilitated the development of an implementation plan to modify culverts under state highways that block salmon passage. Parties included 21 Indian tribes, the State of Washington, and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Mediator for DuPont settlement: Facilitated the settlement among the City of DuPont, Washington Department of Ecology, CalPortland, and a coalition of conservation groups regarding the restoration of salmon habitat and the expansion of a gravel mine.

Wapatox Dam: Facilitated Bureau of Reclamation and PacifiCorp negotiations that led to an agreement that increased instream flows in Naches River to improve salmon and steelhead survival.

Columbia Basin Accords: Facilitated process for the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission to identify fishery restoration measures as part of the Columbia Basin Accords process.

Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority: Facilitated development of a five-year action plan for implementation of fish and wildlife restoration actions.

Alternative Dispute Resolution: Developed a process to resolve Columbia River fish and wildlife issues for the National Marine Fisheries Service. Worked with federal, state, and tribal agencies to develop recommendations.

Willamette Endangered Species Act Strategy: Facilitated Portland’s Willamette River Endangered Species Act Strategy Team. The team was comprised of the bureaus that are involved in ESA issues. Prepared materials and facilitated regular meetings of the team.

Urban ESA strategy: Facilitator and consultant for an urban ESA strategy for the cities of Portland, Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, Everett, and Bellingham. Prepared materials and facilitated discussions among staff of six cities. Also facilitated discussions among the cities and federal agencies. The result was development of an urban ESA strategy.

Northwest Power and Conservation Council: Ed was the founding executive director and served in that position for 15 years. The Council represents the governors of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana and is charged by federal law with developing the electric power and fish and wildlife restoration plans for the Pacific Northwest. The Council deals with a variety of complex and controversial issues. It works with federal, state, local, and tribal governments, industry, environmental, and other groups. Developed innovative electric power plans that have saved Northwest consumers over 75 billion dollars and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 27 million metric tons by promoting cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable resource development.  Ed managed the Council’s processes to work through issues and develop a consensus. Controversial issues included: whether the Northwest should build eighteen nuclear and coal power plants, the cost and availability of energy efficiency and renewable resources, and rebuilding salmon and other fish and wildlife populations in the Columbia River Basin.

Washington State Energy Office: Ed was the director of the office and principal energy advisor to the governor. He was responsible for working with the legislature, congressional delegation, and industry and environmental groups on a variety of energy and conservation issues. During his tenure, his office introduced and passed five bills in the Washington Legislature and worked with a variety of interests in implementing energy programs throughout the state. He also served on the transition team with leaders from Oregon, Idaho, and Montana to implement the Northwest Power Act.

United States Senate: Ed served as special assistant and legislative assistant to the late Senator Warren G. Magnuson. Senator Magnuson was Chairman of the Appropriations Committee for four years and Chairman of the Commerce Committee for 25 years. Ed was the staff person responsible for energy and environmental issues and legislative and appropriations projects. He managed a variety of issues for Magnuson, including representing him in the negotiations on the Northwest Power Act, and passing legislation to prohibit an oil super port inside Puget Sound.

University of Washington: Ed served on the research faculty of the Institute for Environmental Studies and was the director of the Energy Information Project.

Education: Ed has a master’s degree from the University of Washington with a concentration on energy and environmental policy and a bachelor’s degree from Brown University with a concentration on political science.