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SUS-RURI Workshop Roundtable Brainstorm and General Thoughts

Published onDec 24, 2019
SUS-RURI Workshop Roundtable Brainstorm and General Thoughts

The roundtable panel comprised a diverse group both in terms of organizations represented and areas of interest within the SUS-RURI umbrella. A wide range of important topics were discussed by both the panel members and via questions raised by audience members. Reflecting upon how to integrate the efforts of many stakeholders, such as those in cities, farming, the larger agricultural industry, and private industry, this will clearly need to be a collaborative effort. It was very interesting to hear observations and experiences from designers and public art professionals. Integrating all perspectives into the broad, whole effort is critical. Pausing to plan for future improvements, projects, and innovation is also key.

In reflecting upon this from a local government lens, partnering together to gather benefits of scale, finance, and effectiveness is important. Those partnerships will help advance this work in terms of application and generating positive outcomes . This may include conservation efforts, generally, and also regulatory compliance. Working with local governments, as well as state and federal agencies, in addition to agricultural and industry partners will also be critical. As we further explore the incentives necessary to move forward toward common goals, early partnerships formed among the many stakeholders will be an advantage.

Still, the financial aspect of conservation efforts seems to be a clear barrier that needs more attention. Working together to understand best practices, and pairing finance and science can be a way to create efficiencies. Innovation is very much a part of this betterment process, as well as discovery and clear understanding of new science, new issues and new problems.

Several previous projects were discussed throughout the workshop. A question raised multiple times was: “How can we best leverage the work we’ve been doing, break out of our silos, and come together to accomplish a shared vision?” It is important to consider the greater, necessary outcomes, as well as the needs of stakeholders (clearly including the public). Networking across groups and understanding challenges and learning from each other will help provide insights and reduce duplication of efforts. Networking can also help us identify barriers and work to reduce them as a team. A few participants also commented that by simply bringing attention to the issues, more focus and excitement may also create action.

A few of the Iowa League of Cities’ recent related efforts include: (1) Helping connect cities to partnerships and opportunities; (2) Supporting local governments in their efforts; and (3) Working with regulatory agencies to understand best practices in compliance and betterment. In addition the League has acquired grants related to water quality/nutrient reduction efforts in rural and urban places, partnering with agricultural and other private industries.

Erin Mullenix
Iowa League of Cities, Des Moines, Iowa

This event is supported by the National Science Foundation, Award #1929601. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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