Who Is Jessica Western?
Like so many natural resource professionals, I started studying an aspect of the environment, in my case forests. My scope kept broadening throughout my career going from forests, to natural resources, to human dimensions to collaborative problem-solving. Over my life I have found that there are many sides to each natural resource issue and that there is usually more common ground than stakeholders realize. The only way to find that common ground and build on it is to sit down together and systematically unravel the complexity, articulate interests and craft ideas and agreements together.
I have a doctorate in forest management and policy, I am a research scientist in conflict resolution, human dimensions and forest ecology and my results have been published in peer-reviewed journals. I have thirty years of experience designing and leading natural resource collaborative processes in a wide variety of subjects around western United States.
On a personal level, my married name changed from Clement to Western in 2016 when I married Sam and moved to Sheridan, WY. We have several dogs (the number fluctuates), and do our best to restore 4.3 acres of Bighorn Mountain foothills into healthy prairie. I hike, ski, sail, sea-kayak, garden, and read history whenever I am not engaged with amazing people to resolve natural resource conflicts.
Last note: if you hear an accent, it’s Dutch. And yes, I love cheese.
A SELECTION OF RECENT COLLABORATION PROCESSES I HAVE LEAD:
- Black Hills OHV Summit, February, 2021: Designed, facilitated, and wrote report for the Black Hills OHV Summit. As a result of this process, am currently working with the Black Hills National Forest on a full, in-person collaborative learning process this fall to deliberate solutions that facilitate OHV use while protecting other interests such as private property and natural resources. Read the summit report >
- Wyoming Game and Fish Department, 2019 to Present: Design and facilitate a collaborative process to find ways to enhance recreation and big horn sheep populations on the Teton Range, Wyoming.
- Wyoming Game and Fish Department, 2019 to 2020: Design and facilitate a bounded and unbounded statewide collaborative process to engage the public in deliberations around chronic wasting disease. The final product will be a recommended revised CWD Management Plan.
- Wyoming Game and Fish Department, 2017 through 2019: Conduct situation assessment regarding the issues related to a declining bighorn sheep herd on Whiskey Mountain, design and facilitate a collaborative multi-stakeholders process to build consensus regarding recommendations to address the issues. Facilitate two scientific workshops to explore data and make recommendations to the agency.
- Grey’s River Forest Collaborative 2017 - 2019: Design and facilitate this collaborative in through two phases, Phase 1 to recommend particular projects to the USFS and Phase 2 to work with the USFS to implement recommendations from Phase 1 and create new recommendations with a concentration of forest health and recreation.
- Sublette County and Grey’s River Forest Collaboratives – 2016 – 2017. Provide the two county forest collaboratives with collaborative design and facilitation support to address forest restoration, forest health, recreation and wildlife issues.
- Governor’s Task Force on Outdoor Recreation November 2016 – June 2017. Design and facilitate collaborative process to provide Wyoming Governor Matt Mead with recommendations.
- Western Governors’ Association – 2015 - 2016. Workshops for WGA 2015 Chairman Governor Mead regarding the Endangered Species Act. Design and facilitate work sessions to explore efficiencies and improvements to the Endangered Species Act in western States.
- Governor Mead’s Task Force on Forests 2014 – 2015. Designed and facilitated six meetings that resulted in 12 recommendations that are now being implemented.
- BLM Choke Cherry Sierra Madre Wind Development, WY 2013 - 2015: Designed and facilitated a negotiation process between stakeholders Cultural and Historic Resources planning as part of the EIS for the country’s largest wind project the Choke Cherry Sierra Madre Wind Power Development project.
- Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Platte Valley Habitat Partnership 2012 – 2013
- Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Platte Valley Mule Deer Initiative 2011 – 2012
- Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Wyoming Range Mule Deer Initiative 2010 – 2011. Trained staff in collaborative processes. Designed and facilitated landscape scale collaborative processes. Lead WGFD leadership through internal decision-making workshops to determine final management plans using biological, social and internal capacity data.
- The Uncompahgre Plateau Project and Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project (CFLRP) 2008 – 2011: designed and facilitated decision making processes regarding forest treatments and related monitoring.
- The Front Range Roundtable Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project. Created collaborative decision-making processes for diverse stakeholders to absorb and utilize complex, scientific information to create monitoring plans and restoration projects for the entire Colorado Front Range with the USFS.
- Pike-San Isabel National Forests 2006 - 2007: Designed and facilitated a collaborative forest planning process that consisted of workshops open to the public and attended by hundreds members of the public in 8 different locations.
- S. Department of State, 2006 and 2007, International natural resource program coordinator/facilitator. Content supervisor and facilitator in 2006 and 2007 for the Natural Resource Management and Environment Enhancement Workshops for the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program.
RECENT REPORTS AND ASSESSMENTS:
- Western, J. and Gerace, S. (2021) Social License for Wyoming’s Energy Future: What Do Residents Want? University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY: Ruckelshaus Institute of Environment and Natural Resources. Download the report >
- Western, J., Freedman, K., Gerace, S. (2021) Earning the Social License of Tomorrow in an Energy State. American Coal Council. Read the report >
- Bennett, D., C. Barnwell, K. Freedman, S. Smutko, T. Wittman, and Western. 2019. Developing a social science research agenda to guide managers in sagebrush ecosystems. University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY: Ruckelshaus Institute of Environment and Natural Resources.
- Western J. (2018) Situation Assessment: Collaboration regarding the Whiskey Mountain bighorn sheep herd in Wyoming.
- Western, J. (2017) Sublette County Forest Collaborative 2017: Process and Recommendations.
- Western, J. and V. Zero (2016) Assessment Results: Exploring a Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism Degree at the University of Wyoming.
- Clement J. and S. Glendenning (2015). Thunder Basin National Grassland: Situation Assessment and Process Recommendations.
- Clement, J., Loomis, M. Straube, S. Daniels, J. Schaefers, M. Healy, J. Carbone and K. Freedman (2014). Iterative NEPA and Collaboration http://www.uwyo.edu/haub/ruckelshausinstitute/_files/docs/publications/inepa_report_lowres.pdf
A SELECTION OF RECENT TRAININGS CONDUCTED:
- US Forest Service Region 2, Denver 2017 – Present: Design and conduct trainings to all Forests in Region 2 in Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado and South Dakota regarding meeting facilitation and collaboration.
A SELECTION OF RECENT PUBLICATIONS:
- Cottrell S. K. Mattor, J. Morris, C. Fettig, P. McGrady, D. Maguire, P. James, J. Clear, Z. Wurtzebach, Y. Wei, A. Brunelle, Western, R. Maxwell, M. Rotar, L. Gallagher and R. Roberts (2019). Adaptive capacity in social-ecological systems: a framework for addressing bark beetle disturbances in natural resource management. Sustainability Science (14)49 pp 1-13.
- Temple Stoellinger, L. Steven Smutko, Jessica M. Western, Collaboration Through NEPA to Achieve a Social License to Operate on Federal Public Lands (2018), 39 Pub. Land & Resources L. Rev.
- Epstein, K, S. Smutko and Western (2018). From 'Vision' to Reality; Emerging Public Opinion of Collaborative Management in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Society and Natural Resources.
- Western J. A.S. Cheng, N.M. Anderson and P. Motley (2017). Examining the Social Acceptability of Forest Biomass Harvesting and Utilization from Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration: A Case Study from Western Colorado, USA Journal of Forestry 115(6):530–539
- Western, J. (2017) “The U.S. Forest Service: Barriers and Opportunities to Enhancing Institutional Collaborative Capacity”. Paper presented to the PERC Lone Mountain Forum “National Forest Management: Decentralized and Innovative Processes”, Oct 26 – 28, 2017 and in review for publication.
- Clement, J. and M. Straube (2015). iNEPA, the iPhone of Environmental Impact Review, Makes NEPA more User-Friendly. American Bar Association, Natural Resources & Environment (30) 1, p. 41-44.
- McGrady P., Cottrell S., Clement J., Raadik Cottrell J., and Czaja M. (2015). Local Perceptions of MPB Infestation, Forest Management, and Connection to National Forests in Colorado and Wyoming. Human Ecology. Accepted June 2015.
- Clement, and A. Cheng (2011) Using Analyses of public value orientations, attitudes and preferences to inform national forest planning in Colorado and Wyoming. Applied Geography, 31 (2), 393-400.
- National Roster of ECR Professionals, John S. McCain III National Center for Environmental Conflict Resolution
- Society of American Foresters
- International Association for Society and Natural Resources
- International Association of Public Participation
- University Network for Collaborative Governance
- Association for Conflict Resolution