PUBLIC RELATIONS AND EDUCATION OPERATIONAL PLAN
FOR THE CANTARA TRUSTEE COUNCIL

Approved December 3, 1997
Revised and Approved August 12, 1998

INTRODUCTION



The Cantara Trustee Council (CTC) has the unique opportunity to manage the expenditure of about $14 million in settlement funds for natural resource restoration, recovery, enhancement and acquisition. The Cantara Settlement Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) does not directly address the issue of public relations and education, but the CTC recognizes the value and need to keep others informed.

Several arguments can be made that public education is a key element in the restoration of the upper Sacramento River. For example, much of the recovery of the upper Sacramento River ecosystem since the Cantara Spill is due to natural resource management decisions made by the Department of Fish and Game (Department) and other trustee agencies. Shortly after the spill, the flow of information to the public regarding recovery was greatly limited due to litigation. Following the settlement, much more information was readily available to the public, and the public support base for management recommendations by the Department grew exponentially.

Continuing the flow of information to the public at large, the resource user groups, and the decision makers regarding recovery of the ecosystem and the activities of the CTC is important. The CTC has a moral obligation to share information regarding Cantara experiences such as the many lessons that have been learned about natural resource injury, recovery, restoration, monitoring, and management. The CTC desires to take a proactive role over the messages and the audiences it reaches with a public relations and education program.
 


PURPOSE

This plan identifies the potential target audiences, potential media, potential messages, costs and potential implementation mechanisms for specific public relations, and education projects for the CTC. Staff recommended actions are included.
 
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES  
1. Meet the requirements of the MOA by producing an annual report and expenditure plan. 
2. Promote recovery, restoration, enhancement, public support, and public stewardship of natural resources injured by the Cantara Spill through public relations and education. 
3. Provide history and guidance for future use of the Comprehensive Environmental Restoration Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) to other natural resource Trustee Agencies of what works and does not work with regard to the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process and restoration. 
4. Develop state and federal support for the CERCLA process which has come under recent political scrutiny, by educating legislators and environmental groups on the positive outcome of the Cantara Settlement.

 

TARGET AUDIENCES


1.     Scientific Community

        a. Natural Resource Trustee Agencies that are responsible for conducting NRDAs under CERCLA.
        b. Academia such as colleges and universities.
        c. Professional consultants that work on natural resource issues.
        d. Land management agencies such as US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.
 

2.    Political Interests

        a. Local city and county officials, and fish and game/recreation commissions.
        b. State elected officials and appointees (legislators, senators and Fish and Game Commission).
        c. Federal elected officials (representatives and senators).
        d. Environmental groups.
 

3.     Public

        a. The general public at large.
        b. Resource user groups such as angling organizations and other recreation user groups like
            rafters, campers, swimmers, and sightseers.
        c. Local skeptics, small individual groups or persons that have specific negative opinions about
            the CTC and management of the river.
        d. School children.
        e. Private landowners.
 

4.     Grant Applicants for CTC grant dollars.
 
 

MEDIA OR METHODS TO CONVEY MESSAGES TO TARGET AUDIENCES
 
1.
  Annual Report and the Expenditure Plan are required by the MOA to inform the public of the activities of the CTC.
2.
  CTC Newsletter can be produced two or three times per year describing the activities of the CTC and recovery status of the river. 
3.
  Brochures can be produced addressing specific topics (e.g., Recovery a Planned Miracle [how management has been used to promote recovery of the river ecosystem]; Family Recreation Opportunities on the River; or Catch and Release, the Whys and Hows). 
4.
  Posters can be developed to convey a single clear message. 
5.
  Interpretive Displays can be presented in conjunction with an interpretive centers, public access points or with special events (e.g., fairs or Kids Fishing Days).
6.
  Press Releases can be produced whenever anything important occurs with the CTC or the upper Sacramento River.
7.
  Grant Packages are produced annually to guide potential grant applicants. 
8.
  Presentations, such as, slide shows can be produced and presented to a wide variety of audiences. 
9.
  Personal One-on-One Contact using existing Cantara Staff including the warden. 
10.
  Video of CTC activities and projects can provide information to large numbers of viewers if broadcast on television, and may also be used for education and interpretive events.
11.
  School Curriculum can be developed regarding resource recovery, restoration and resource management. 
12.
  Scientific Reports and Publications regarding damage assessment, resource recovery and restoration are being produced.
13.
  Special events, such as, Kids Fishing Days, Return of the Salmon Festival, or other events celebrating the resource values of the Sacramento can be used to engage the public in positive interactive interpretation.
14.
  An Internet Web Site can be developed to disseminate CTC information and documents to a larger segment of the identified target audiences. 


 

MESSAGES ABOUT THE CTC AND UPPER SACRAMENTO RIVER

Messages regarding the CTC and the upper Sacramento River must be tailored to the goals and objectives of this plan and each audience type. Below are some of the more important messages.
 
 
1.
  The CTC is responsibly managing the Upper Sacramento River Account to restore natural resources and their lost use values that were damaged as a result of the Cantara Spill. 
2.
  The CTC is involving the public in its restoration program through the grant programs and public review process on important documents. 
3.
  Environmental laws such as CERCLA, allow public trust agencies to recover damages for lost natural resources for the benefit of the public after disasters such as the Cantara Spill. 
4.
  The Cantara Spill resulted in a short-term contamination with long-term effects on the upper Sacramento River ecosystem. 
5.
  The chemical contamination is long gone and there are no public health concerns associated with using the upper Sacramento at this time. 
6.
  Recovery of the upper Sacramento River ecosystem has been a "Planned Miracle" through monitoring and proper management by the Department, the Commission and other natural resource trustee agencies. 
7.
  Family oriented recreation opportunities abound on the upper Sacramento River. 
8.
  Catch and release angling regulations with artificial lures (not just flies) are helping the upper Sacramento River trout fishery to recover.

 
 

DISCUSSION


There is no single media available that will reach all target audiences with all the potential messages that need to be addressed by the CTC. Instead the CTC must decide which messages and which audiences are most important and then chose the most appropriate media. It is important to remember that each audience type will require substantially different approaches to get out a positive public relations message regarding the CTC. In addition messages will have to be specifically tailored for each audience type.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel where some of the needs of the CTC are already being addressed. The needs of the scientific community are largely being met with the Cantara library, the publication of scientific reports (both grey literature and peer reviewed) and presentations by the Cantara Program and it's consultants. Therefore, these will not be addressed further. A grant was awarded in 1996 for an information center in Dunsmuir and school link programs in Dunsmuir and the rest of Siskiyou County. Cantara staff will be involved in these grant programs. In addition, the 1996 CTC Annual Report and Expenditure Plan is nearing completion. This will be a valuable tool to reach many interests. The packages for the second year of the CTC grant program have been completed, meeting the needs of potential grant applicants. Press releases are regularly released by the Cantara Program and the CTC. Fishery management decisions will be addressed in 1997 regarding the 1998 and 1999 fishing regulations. Slide presentations by the Cantara staff continues to be an integral part of getting the message out regarding recovery status of the fishery and management options available.

Tables 1 and 2 are matrices showing the media best suited to reaching various audience types. The CTC public relations and education program should focus on the audiences that have largely been overlooked by other programs. We believe these groups are the general public and resource users.

The general public deserves a stake in this program. Their natural resources were injured by the spill and the settlement dollars are being used to restore their public trust resources. They need to be informed of how the CTC is spending their settlement dollars and what happened to the upper Sacramento River to lead to the establishment of the CTC. Several media are available to reach the general public. Press releases reach a large segment of the public but only if the newspapers and TV stations consider the release to be newsworthy. Displays at well situated interpretive centers can reach a large segment of the public, such as proposed by the Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association. Interpretive centers can also be a location to disseminate newsletters, brochures and posters. A well-produced video would require a great deal of outside expertise, but if aired on public television or other science channels could reach a large segment of the general public.

Resource users need to be informed of the recreational opportunities on the river, how and why the river is being managed the way it is, and that the resource is safe to use (there are no longer any contamination and health concerns). The best ways to reach this audience is through displays and interpretive centers such as the Sacramento River Exchange Center in Dunsmuir and brochures. Two or three separate brochures each conveying separate messages such as "Recovery a Planned Miracle" and "Family Recreation on the Upper Sacramento River" could be developed either through an outside contract or with Cantara staff.

There are people who have been openly critical of the Department and the CTC. They believe that the Department is studying the river to "keep their jobs" and that there is a conspiracy to make the upper Sacramento River a catch and release "elitist fly fisherman" stream. This is probably the most difficult audience to work with because they do not trust the Department. The most important message we can get to these individuals includes monitoring on the river is important to make informed management decisions and catch and release angling is important to recovery of the fishery. Key individuals would probably benefit most through personal one-on-one contact with Cantara staff, and periodic newsletters informing them of the recovery status and how management options accomplish specific goals.
 


POTENTIAL MECHANISMS FOR IMPLEMENTATION

 
1.
  CTC Contract
The CTC has the option of developing a request for proposals (RFP) to be advertised for a contract to an outside party.
2.
  CTC Grant
The CTC could continue a passive approach and see what types of proposals are submitted through the grant program. A proactive approach would outline the needs of the CTC in the grant package.
3.
  Help from Existing Grant Recipients
As part of the grant agreements, the recipients could be required to provide slides and/or video of their project to be used by the CTC in a public relations program.
4.
  Utilize Existing Department Staff
a.     Fund the use of existing interpretive staff and/or information officers. 
b.     Fund existing Cantara staff and the warden position. 
c.     Hire a person with the appropriate expertise through the University Foundation to work as a Cantara staff public relations (PR) person. This person might also be used to monitor and document CTC grant projects, and could potentially aid in the minigrant program. 
5.
  Partnering With Other Organizations, such as Local Public Television or Local Cable Access Programs
The costs of producing a video might be reduced substantially by working through these nonprofit groups. 

 

RECOMMENDED ACTIONS FOR IMPLEMENTATION

Several actions are recommended to meet the CTC's goals to inform all audiences of the CTC's activities, provide a history of the spill and the recovery efforts, and promote public stewardship of the upper Sacramento River watershed.

  1. Annual reports are required by the settlement MOA. These reports will be geared toward the various political audiences in Table 1. These reports will send a clear message that the settlement funds are being spent in a responsible and effective manner to restore natural resources injured by the Cantara Spill. It will also be emphasized that without CERCLA, this settlement and all of the related grant projects would not have been possible. These reports will be posted on the Department home page on the world wide web, and will be made available to the River Exchange Program's web site in Dunsmuir. (Approved September 18, 1996 for completion by staff.)
  2. Newsletters will be generated two or three times per year. Support staff working for the Cantara Program already prepares quarterly updates. These updates will be adapted into newsletters targeting interested parties such as environmental groups, local government and the general public. The key messages will be the CTC's responsible management of settlement dollars and how proper management of resources with feedback from monitoring is aiding in the recovery of the ecosystem. Newsletters will also be made available at interpretive centers to reach more of the general public, and will be posted on the web sites of the Department and the River Exchange Program in Dunsmuir. (Approved as part of plan on December 3, 1996.)
  3. At least two Brochures will be produced before the 1997 fishing season. These brochures will target resource users and the general public. Specific messages will include how proper management of the resources with feedback from monitoring is leading to recovery "A Planned Miracle" and there are ample family recreation opportunities on the river. A draft of each brochure, and a brochure distribution plan will be presented to the CTC. These brochures will also be posted on the web sites of the Department and the River Exchange Program in Dunsmuir. (Approved September 18, 1996 for completion by staff.)
  4. Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association's California Welcome Center proposal will be funded due to long-term benefits in reaching large numbers of the general public. Interpretive displays will focus on the short-term contamination leading to long-term damage to the ecosystem and how settlement funds are being used to recover lost resource values and to restore the ecosystem. The Welcome Center will also be used to disseminate CTC newsletters and brochures. (Approved September 18, 1996 as a contract.)
  5. Cantara staff will develop a scope of work and RFP in 1997 to produce a Video. The RFP will be used by the CTC to investigate the cost of a video documentary on the spill, recovery of the river, and management of settlement funds by the CTC to reach a large segment of the general public. Outside expertise is a must, but working with public television might significantly reduce the cost.
  6. The CTC will support Cantara Staff in the preparation of a Hindsight Analysis of the Cantara NRDA. Such an analysis will provide other natural resource trustee agencies with the lessons learned by Cantara Staff in conducting the injury determination, injury quantification, damage determination, and recovery and restoration phases of the NRDA process. CTC support will come in the way of funding a temporary research writing position to work with the Cantara Team Leaders to prepare the report.
  7. Cantara staff will continue to prepare Press Releases and Grant Application Packages in support of the CTC.
  8. Cantara staff will strive to make personal one-on-one contact with local skeptics and other local public. Small group contacts and river restoration tours will be coordinated through the River Exchange Program in Dunsmuir. Funding of the Cantara Warden position through fiscal year (FY) 2000-2001 would continue the presence of uniformed staff on the river and facilitate one-on-one contact with the resource users. (Funding of warden position from FY 1997-1998 through 1999-2000 approved December 3, 1996.)
  9. Cantara staff shall plan and implement special events that will convey the Cantara Trustee Council's message to the public via special event activities, educational message, and media coverage. Primary among these events will be a kids fishing day located within the upper Sacramento River watershed. Messages will include the value of the riparian system, fishing as recreational activity, and exposure to the activities of the Cantara Trustee Council. ($26,000 approved March 11, 1997, to cover staff costs, materials, and operating expenses.)
  10. In addition to traditional print media, Cantara staff shall develop, construct and maintain an Internet Web Site that will make CTC information and publications available in electronic format. The web site will contain information regarding the Council's grant programs, a calendar of events, as well as copies of its annual reports, newletters, brochures, planning documents, and other informational publications. 

 

Table 3 provides some estimates for the costs associated with producing printed media associated with the projects above.

 

Table 1. Potential media to reach political audience types

0 = little utility X = some utility XX = good utility
 
Media Trustee 
and Land 
Agencies
Environmental 
Groups
Local
Government
State
Government
Federal
Government
Annual Report X XX XX XX XX
Newsletter X XX X X X
Brochure 0 0 0 0 0
Poster 0 0 0 0 0
Displays &

Interp. Center

0 0 0 0 0
Press Release 0 0 0 0 0
Grant Package X X X 0 0
Presentations X X XX XX X
Personal 

Contact

X X XX 0 0
Video 0 0 0 0 0
Curriculum 0 0 0 0 0
Scientific

Reports

XX X 0 0 0
Tours of Projects X X XX X X

 

Table 2. Potential media to reach public audience types

0 = little utility X = some utility XX = good utility
 
Media Local Landowners Resource
Users
General
Public
School
Children
Grant
Applicants
Annual Report X X 0 0 X
Newsletter XX X X 0 0
Brochure X XX X 0 0
Poster 0 0 X X 0
Displays &

Interp. Center

0 XX XX X 0
Press Release 0 X XX 0 X
Grant Package 0 0 0 0 XX
Presentations X X X XX 0
Personal 

Contact

XX 0 0 0 0
Video 0 0 XX 0 0
Curriculum 0 0 0 XX 0
Scientific

Reports

0 0 0 0 0

 

Table 3. Costs associated with potential printed media
 
Item Description # of Copies Cost Staff Time
Annual Report 16 pages 
four color
4000 $8,609 300 to 400 hours
Newsletter 8 pages
one color
1 annual
500
1000
5000
$591
$714
$1,697
75 hours
  8 pages
two color
1 annual
500
1000
5000
$1,003
$1144
$2,268
75 hours
Brochure 8 ½ X 14"
three fold
four color
500
1000
5000
$1,598
$2,024
$2,556
200 hours
Poster 18 X 24"
four color
500 
1000
5000
$1,518
$1,610
$2,338
50 hours