Negotiation Skills for Natural Resource Professionals: Building a Foundation

Science Center Objects

The Fort Collins Science Center's Social and Economic Analysis (SEA) Branch has been conducting and publishing research on multi-party natural resource negotiation since the 1980s. This research has led to the development of the basic negotiation training courses. This course is a mix of lecture, hands-on training, and discussion. Please join us and other natural resource professionals facing similar problems and share your experiences. Come prepared to candidly discuss examples of successes to embrace, stalemates to recognize, and pitfalls to avoid in natural resource negotiations.

Many Federal resource managers are required by statute to consult on the management plans of Federal lands and Federal permits and licenses. These collaborative processes often include public involvement programs and are frequently controversial and contentious. Federal resource managers must be effective negotiators to participate in these processes in a manner that maximizes service to the public, is efficient in terms of time and money, and results in a product that meets agency missions. The courses are typically attended by Federal managers from a variety of agencies as well as State, local, and county agency personnel.

The training course is held at the Fort Collins Science Center, Colorado and provides participants with the basic principles, skills, and techniques used in natural resource negotiation so that they can more effectively plan for and participate in these processes. Each class typically includes students from various federal agencies as well as state and local agencies. Ample time for discussion and student participation allows for exchange of ideas and experiences. No previous negotiation experience is required, though many participants have past, present, and/or future negotiations to discuss.

The course is a dynamic mix of lecture, hands-on training, and discussion. During the training session, participants will apply what they learn to their own cases and present them for class discussion. Course materials include a training handbook and online readings.

Day One

  • Introduction
  • Diagnosing a Negotiation
  • Qualities of a Good Negotiator

Day Two

  • Developing a Strategic Perspective
  • Assessing Your Organization and Other Parties
  • Guidelines for Success

Day Three

  • Student Presentations of Negotiation Problems and Solutions
  • Course Wrap-up and Evaluations

Instructor Information: Nina Burkardt is a Research Social Scientist with the Social and Economic Analysis (SEA) Branch at the USGS Fort Collins Science Center. Since 1987, she has worked with her SEA colleagues to help stakeholders plan and undertake collaborative decision processes, and has conducted research to determine factors leading to success in environmental negotiations. Results of this research have been published in Environmental Management, Wildlife Society Bulletin, Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Water Resources Bulletin, Environmental Practice, International Journal of Organizational Theory and Behavior, and other peer-reviewed journals. She has a long standing interest in instream flow issues and has conducted research to evaluate the effectiveness of state instream flow policies. Ms. Burkardt is a past President of the Western Social Science Association and is active in this and several other professional groups. She has been teaching negotiation courses since 1992.

Participant Feedback:

“I like your instructional style: Relaxed, confident, and informative. Very valuable information!”

“Very well done. Good content. I would recommend to others. Thank you.”

“Training materials were presented in a clear, effective manner.”

“The class helped me understand the dynamics of negotiations. It also helps in the real world. Thanks for a very useful session!”