Negotiating Science and Policy in Collaborative Hydropower Licensing

By Nicola Ulibarri, Department of Planning, Policy and Design, University of California, Irvine
and Kirk Emerson, School of Government and Public Policy, University of Arizona


This simulation highlights the role of technical and scientific information in environmental negotiations. It uses the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) integrated process for licensing hydropower facilities to introduce students to multiparty negotiation and collaboration in a complex environmental decision-making setting. Participants learn how to seek their interests through advocating for specific studies that can provide credible information on the impacts of dam operations; how to work with other stakeholders to negotiate the best-informed set of management conditions for the new license using uncertain—but best available—science; and how science and politics interact to influence collaboratively-reached decisions. 

Download the Simulation (pdf)

Download the Teaching Note (pdf)