As the voice of the Columbia Basin Project (Project), the Columbia Basin Development League (League) has a responsibility to Project stakeholders to represent their interests in the continued development of the Project. That fundamental principle has guided the League’s work since its inception in 1964.
True to that principle, earlier this year, the League identified the need to engage Project stakeholders in an effort to harmonize and prioritize Project development and support efforts. The Odessa Ground Water Replacement Program (OGWRP) addresses a looming economic and environmental crisis by transferring deep well irrigators drawing from a depleting aquifer to Project surface water, but that doesn’t meet all landowner needs. After multiple decades of development, Project completion is now in the sights of some landowners and policymakers, but an intentional plan for how best to approach it—in a manner that compliments the OGWRP—is needed. And, in the meantime, existing infrastructure is aging. Support is also needed for the mechanisms that keep the Columbia Basin economic engine-- irrigated agriculture--running smoothly. So, how can all these needs be considered in an overarching advocacy plan that the League can confidently implement?
In response, the League formed a Task Force to engage Project stakeholders in a process of providing input as the League continues work toward mission fulfillment. The process is designed to:
Promote harmonization of individual efforts;
Ensure the Columbia Basin Project is fully supported;
Ensure representation of all stakeholder voices;
Promote understanding of individual Project elements and prioritize them.
Engagement outreach is now complete, as the electronic survey is closed. This summer, the League hired a firm that specializes in evidence-based qualitative and quantitative research to design and execute the survey, as well as analyze the results. Findings were reported to the League Board this fall, and they will be used to inform the League’s short, mid, and long-term goals and objectives in the context of revisions to the League’s strategic plan.
Thank you to everyone who participated and took the survey!
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