Clear Choices Clean Water

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Our team (through the support of two active watershed clients and several municipalities) created, launched, and currently maintains the state’s largest social marketing campaign for environmental awareness, Clear Choices Clean Water (CCCW).  CCCW is a unique strategy to increase awareness and knowledge about residential behavior choices and their impact on water quality in local watersheds.  The project helps to change people’s behavior, evaluate outreach success, and measure improvements at the same time.  The focal point of the campaign is an interactive website and pledge map; however, a suite of supporting resources, marketing materials, and interactive activities were developed to help support the program as well.  We create regular social media posts and engage dozens of outside partners in the continued support and promotion of the program.  Google analytics and other built-in metrics allow us to evaluate the success of various outreach strategies, which allows for flexibility and quick adjustments. This project won the 2012 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence, the North American Lake Management Society 2013 Technical Merit Award for Education and Outreach, the Indiana Water Environment Association’s Outstanding Website Award in 2014, and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s award for Outstanding Development and Implementation of Storm Water Programs or Projects.

PROJECT TASKS (Ongoing)

  • Developed award winning social marketing campaign (largest in the state)
  • Created and maintained ever-growing website that houses educational and technical resources developed to support the pledge campaigns
  • Designed numerous pieces of collateral outreach materials and creative promotional and marketing items
  • Measured and evaluated campaign pledge impacts and behavior change metrics; provided routine improvements and upgraded to the program
  • Leveraged the program to build wide-spread partnerships and sponsorships
  • Adapted the program for national implementation and resale; produced regular revenue stream and national sponsors

The team at ER has the broadest knowledge base of all things water I have encountered. Their enthusiasm and tireless approach to championing water resource protection makes this the team to engage.
The ER team is at the forefront of water resource protection strategies. Their wide array of experience with innovative practices adds value to every project they undertake.
The ER team is one of the easiest teams with which I have worked. They can take the most complex problem or condition and guide their customers to the best solutions.

Lance Lantz
Town of Zionsville

Wetlands Program Plan

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The Indiana Wetland Program Plan (IWPP) is a statewide action plan designed to guide continued wetland conservation and restoration.  The vision of the Plan is to advance the understanding of the services and benefits that wetlands provide to the State, to promote the restoration and creation of high quality wetlands throughout the state, and to conserve and protect Indiana’s remaining wetlands. We served as a primary author of the Plan and led the Plan’s stakeholder engagement and public involvement activities. Stakeholder input was then utilized by our team to develop a prioritized seven-year implementation work plan. The IWPP includes priorities, goals, and action items reflecting the opinions and needs of many wetland stakeholders located throughout the state. Input was sought from hundreds of stakeholders including public and private organizations and individual members of the public. We also facilitated the activities of the Plan’s multi-agency Steering Committee that included the Indiana Department of Environment (IDEM), the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (U.S. FWS), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA).

PROJECT TASKS

  • Authored Statewide Wetland Program Plan
  • Developed GIS mapping strategy to inventory critical wetland resources and restoration opportunities
  • Deployed stakeholder surveys, analyzed findings, and followed-up with participants
  • Conducted one-on-one meetings with key conservation partners to identify shared goals and future needs
  • Developed comprehensive stakeholder communications matrix and recommended outreach materials to reach target audiences
  • Inventoried wide-spread educational materials and identified missing elements needed to meet the Plan’s goals
  • Facilitated multi-agency Steering Committee meetings and numerous public input  sessions

US 31 Improvement Project

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The New US 31 Major Moves Project, one of the largest in INDOT history, elevated sections of US 31 to limited access freeway standards. The project area (Hamilton County) presented unique challenges, as it includes one of the most developed luxury commercial corridors in the state. Additionally, this section of the road passes through several communities with varying development initiatives, historic resources, formal community aesthetics, and beloved recreational amenities. Our staff worked to maximize constructive community involvement opportunities and facilitate discussions with key stakeholders. These discussions were relayed to project designers in order to bring public opinion to bear on the final product. We also served as lead authors and investigators in the original environmental evaluations and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation that initiated the project, as well as the concluding FEIS document that solidified the project several years later. We saw the US 31 Hamilton County project through all of these phases, serving as a trusted resource among the relatively large project team and the public.

PROJECT TASKS

  • Developed public involvement plans and outreach strategies
  • Coordinated large public participation events
  • Facilitated committee and targeted stakeholders meetings
  • Provided design recommendations for project integration into the community
  • Authored DEIS/FEIS documents and fulfilled all NEPA requirements and coordination
  • Conducted environmental evaluations & agency coordination across multiple years

Quite frankly, you have been a huge help on a number of issues such as leading the completion of the SDEIS / FEIS and the public involvement.
So, great staff – yes
Meaningful outcome – definitely
Repeat business – would love to find that “next” project to work on together!

Steve Fleming
CHA Companies

Indy Urban Waters

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Our team assisted the City of Indianapolis in obtaining an Urban Waters Grant from the US EPA to implement a new water currency program and several demonstration projects associated with the prevention of stormwater runoff into area streams.  We conducted targeted outreach efforts including customized mailers and e-newsletters, as well as residential workshops focused on water quality, rain gardens, & native planting practices.  Several hands-on training days helped implement these best practices along streams. Key audiences for involvement and education included Indianapolis Department of Public Works staff, Indy Parks staff, Community Development Corporations, residents, and members of the business community such as landscape architects and installers, and site designers. We also worked with the project team to create a new ‘water currency’ program aimed at developing social and economic capital surrounding water and behavior change in a low income neighborhood. Residents earn currency by engaging in various activities that help reduce stormwater pollution.   Currency was then traded in at local businesses for various goods, thus increasing both financial and social wealth in the community.

PROJECT TASKS

  • Successful grant writing to obtain highly competitive US EPA funding
  • Identified target residents who may be interested in water quality conservation initiatives and program goals
  • Planned and designed demonstration rain garden and no-mow buffers; deliver hands-on training days at sites
  • Developed technical resources, including planting plans for rain gardens and other native plant gardens
  • Coordinated and deliver educational workshops for various audiences
  • Promoted water currency through e-newsletters, workshop participation, and presence at community events

Indy Rezone

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Indy Rezone was the largest overhaul of Indianapolis’ zoning ordinances and development standards since 1969 – an effort aimed at making a more livable, more sustainable city. Our team played a critical role in this initiative by leading the facilitation of dozens of controversial discussions across multiple stakeholder groups and managing the efforts and outcomes of the Steering Committee over a two and half year timeframe. We served a leadership role by engaging focus groups at round tables, technical task forces, and the multi-stakeholder, 30-person Steering Committee. Outreach efforts were aimed at insuring that any ordinance changes had been thoughtfully developed and publically vetted across many groups and neighborhood scenarios. We focused on increasing the public’s understand of topics such as transportation choices; equitable, affordable housing; economic competitiveness; green investment; natural resource protection; and neighborhood invigoration. This understand was then leveraged into meaningful contributions by developing and facilitating diverse public input mechanisms. Indy Rezone will shape Indy’s built environment into the kinds of places people want to work, live and play for the next several decades.

PROJECT TASKS

  • Overhauled the City’s zoning code to promote livability and sustainability
  • Created and implemented strategic communication plan
  • Facilitated multi-stakeholder Steering Committee and neighborhood focus groups
  • Consulted on technical ordinance content and incentive programs focused on water sustainability
  • Planned and executed large-scale public meetings
  • Developed public outreach materials and cultivated new and unique venues for input
  • Engaged public officials and professional organizations through policy round-tables
  • Synthesized public and professional feedback from agencies and organizations to provide critical content to City project staff
Working with Empower Results means actually getting results that are meaningful, creative, on time and within budget!Empower Results first understands you, your project, then delivers a tailored approach that works. Empower Results is all about getting the results that you need; they always find a way – even when it looks impossible. As the saying goes, “it’s easy to make a decision when you don’t have all the information.” Empower Results takes all the information and enables the decision to be found relatively pain-free.
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Tammara Tracy
City of Indianapolis

Riverfront Fort Wayne

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Riverfront Fort Wayne is an initiative that envisions a revitalized downtown riverfront area that is a regional destination offering opportunities to experience nature, recreation, shopping, dining and entertainment in a whole new way. We led the community outreach efforts that resulted in the Riverfront Fort Wayne action plan – a plan that was developed through a process that included extensive community input. The resulting vision for the riverfront plan offers something for everyone, from natural wetlands that allows you to reconnect with nature, to an activity park that encourages people of any age to play, to a promenade that welcomes you to stroll and enjoy shopping and dining along the river. These areas of interest are strengthened by improved pedestrian, trail and vehicular connections from nearby neighborhoods and the downtown which will ensure an ease of accessibility to the riverfront for residents and visitors alike.

PROJECT TASKS

  • Assisted multi-disciplinary team with concept plans for redevelopment of Fort Wayne’s Riverfront
  • Developed stakeholder communication matrix and delivered associated key messages to target audiences
  • Implemented diverse public input mechanisms, including programing and content for Envision Center public showroom
  • Created unique public engagement events including boat tours and river walks
  • Facilitated large-scale public meetings and open houses
  • Analyzed public input and provided guidance to the design team

The success of the Riverfront Fort Wayne study is due in part to the true teamwork we experienced with Empower Results. Jill’s enthusiasm and dedication for our project and innovative communication techniques contributed to a quantity and quality of public input beyond our expectations!

Pam H.
Fort Wayne

Upper Tippecanoe River Lakes Strategic Watershed Management Plan

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Empower Results led all local steering committee meetings associated with the development of a strategic plan aimed at reducing non-point source pollution to the seven hydrologically connected lakes in the Upper Tippecanoe River chain.  Committee members were guided through a series of meetings and activities focused on consensus building, resource consolidation, and the prioritization. These meetings were used to develop an action plan for future environmental and social projects in the watershed.  As land-use and water quality issues were identified, subsequent strategies were developed through facilitated discussions with other stakeholders.  Customized public outreach events and alternative meeting styles assisted in the translation of technical data and topics to the public throughout the project.

PROJECT TASKS

  • Educational workshops
  • Goals setting and meeting facilitation
  • Stakeholder conflict resolution
  • Long-range organizational planning
  • Development of a GIS and public-friendly graphics
  • Synthesis and communication of water quality findings
  • Lake management recommendations

IASWCD 5-Year Strategic Plan

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Our staff led the IASWCD Board of Directors through a two-day strategic planning retreat.  IASWCD needed to develop one cohesive plan that would outline a clear path for future activities and guide all meeting agendas and committee work.  We stepped the Board through the various stages of strategic planning in an efficient way, utilizing interactive strategies and tightly facilitated discussions.  The various planning stages were separated by team-building activities that led to shared respect, trust, and open communication among Board members.

PROJECT TASKS

  • Group facilitation
  • Strategic Plan development
  • Team-building activities
  • Problem identification
  • Conflict resolution
  • Institutional resource assessment
  • Management consulting

Eagle Creek Watershed Alliance

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The Eagle Creek Watershed Alliance has existed for over twelve years working to protect and improve water quality in Eagle Creek, its tributaries, and the downstream, Eagle Creek drinking water Reservoir. The watershed hosts diverse land uses, spanning intense agriculture operations, suburban fringe communities, and densely urban parts of the City of Indianapolis and the Town of Zionsville.  During the development and implementation of the Watershed Management Plan, our team worked to bring people from all of these areas under the Alliance’s influence through committee participation, project implementation on individual properties, and broad public education and awareness events.  We oversaw cost-share projects that included design, permitting, and monitoring work, as well as conducted numerous workshops, field days, and watershed tours. Projects and educational efforts span both urban and agricultural residents, in addition to other target audiences.  We were also responsible for all news media communications, land owner agreements, project success measures, and all aspects of federal grant reporting.

PROJECT TASKS

  • Authored EPA/IDEM compliant Watershed Management Plan and Plan updates
  • Conducted water quality and habitat assessments
  • Created web-based map resources and pre-packaged educational resources
  • Analyzed critical resources via GIS and field investigations
  • Implemented landowner cost-share program and technical assistance
  • Communicated with media and produced routine project communications such as newsletters and social media
  • Engaged and coordinated multiple topical committees and the Steering Committee
  • Coordinated with schools and parks departments on projects and educational initiatives

Lake of the Woods and McClish Lake Watershed Diagnostic Study

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We led the assessment and planning efforts necessary to set water quality improvement goals and complete a comprehensive Watershed Diagnostic Study for the Lake of the Woods and McClish Lake Watershed. The Lake of the Woods and McClish Lake Watershed is located in northeastern Indiana in the counties of LaGrange, Steuben, Noble and DeKalb.  It is a small watershed comprised of only 3,370 acres.  The watershed is a part of the larger Little Turkey Lake – Turkey Creek Watershed. The effort included engaging stakeholders from the local lakes and larger agricultural watershed. The final report provided Best Management Practice (BMP) recommendations and outlined the next steps necessary for conservation implementation.  The Plan met the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Lake and River Enhancement diagnostic study standards and therefore positioned the Lake Associate for future funding.

PROJECT TASKS

  • Completed full watershed assessment and authored diagnostic study
  • Led strategic planning discussion, facilitated meetings, and built consensus among residents regarding lake management strategies
  • Conducted environmental assessments and develop project GIS
  • Synthesized and communicated water quality findings to the public
  • Identified specific lake management recommendations
  • Developed public education and outreach strategies

Specifics

CLIENT
LaGrange County Lake Association

SERVICES
Environmental Planning
Group Facilitation
Public Involvement