About Us


Publication: 2013-08-26



Name:Owen Ambur


Name:U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution


Congress established the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution in 1998. The U.S. Institute's mission is to help resolve environmental disputes that involve the federal government, by providing mediation, training and related services. Included within the term "environmental" disputes are conflicts related to the environment, public lands and natural resources. Congress also directed the U.S. Institute to work to further the implementation of our National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by providing negotiation, mediation, and other settlement efforts as alternatives to litigation.


  • Udall FoundationCongress placed the U.S. Institute within the Udall Foundation. The Foundation is an independent federal agency based in Tucson, Arizona. As a result, the U.S. Institute is part of the federal government - but it is completely independent of all other federal agencies. Congressional sponsors of the legislation creating the Institute thought it was appropriate for it to be part of the Udall Foundation, as Sen. John McCain said, because Morris Udall's career "was distinguished by his integrity, service and commitment to consensus-building."

  • USIECR StaffThe U.S. Institute has a staff of about 30, including Deputy Executive Director for Environmental Conflict Resolution program managers, project and administrative staff. The Institute provides services nationwide and frequently partners with private-sector mediators and facilitators who are located in the geographic area of a dispute. These outside mediators are among the more than 300 members of the Institute's National Roster of Environmental Dispute Resolution and Consensus Building Professionals. This resource is also available to anyone searching for an ECR professional at Roster of ECR Practitioners. In addition to their mediation and facilitation skills, the Institute's professional staff have backgrounds in many related fields, including law, public policy, natural resource and public lands management, urban planning, air quality, transportation, energy, and Native American issues.

  • Gail BrooksSenior Associate for Programs and Communication -- Roster of ECR Professionals

  • Suzanne OrensteinDirector of the Udall Foundation's Washington DC Office

  • Patricia OrrDirector of Policy, Planning & Budget -- Case & Project Evaluation

  • Tina GargusProgram Associate -- ECR Training

  • Olivia MontesAssistant to the Directors -- General Information

  • Jerry CarterWebmaster

  • Sarah PalmerSenior Program Manager -- Case consultation areas: Native American and Alaska Native, federal- tribal engagement on cultural and natural resource issues, Native Network Skills Exchange workshop

  • Brian ManwaringProgram Manager -- Case consultation areas: Wetlands, rivers, fisheries, coastal and marine issues

  • Cherie Shanteau-WheelerDirector of Programs -- Case consultation areas: Administrative proceedings, mediated settlements, military bases, training for Federal managers and others involved in environmental conflicts

  • Debra DreckselSenior Program Manager/Senior Facilitator -- Case consultation areas: Transportation, any other areas not listed ...

  • Maggie McCaffreySenior Program Manager -- Case consultation areas: Public lands management, fire and fuels management, landscape restoration, ecosystems assessment, planning and management

  • Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer Deputy Executive Director for Environmental Conflict Resolution -- Case consultation areas: National Policy Dialogues and Regional Environmental Forums

  • Karen SiderelisDirector of Technology Collaboration

  • Caelan McGeeSenior Program Manager/Senior Facilitator

  • Theresa FernandezReceptionist/Financial Assistant

  • Kimberly CaringerSenior Program Associate

  • Pat LewisSenior Program Associate

  • Mitchell ChrismerProgram Associate