Case Study: Expanding Stakeholder Engagement with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Infrastructure Portfolio
U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Infrastructure Portfolio supports the development of infrastructure to bolster the agency’s mission of securing the nation’s borders. As physical infrastructure is created, there are requirements to consult with public and private entities on potential impacts of the environment, culture, economy, and quality of life. Once the physical infrastructure is under construction, there are requirements to continue communication with the public on the status of the project and to coordinate with state, local, tribal, and Federal Government agencies to ensure accurate information is distributed and available to the public.
The Government contracted with Avid Core to provide environmental communications, outreach support, and multiagency coordination, including coordination with the U.S. Forest Service, the Department of the Interior, and Environmental Protection Agency.
Avid Core defined and executed the environmental planning public involvement strategy for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Infrastructure Portfolio. The plan covered a large geographic area but was tailored to each local community to ensure the community’s specific concerns would be heard and unique needs would be met.
To create the plan, we conducted an assessment of existing public involvement efforts reviewing background materials, existing materials, and conducting interviews with staff. From that assessment, our team developed a plan that identified key stakeholders and outreach activities tied to environmental planning and construction milestones. The plan is referenced and used throughout all activities to ensure consistency.
Our work under the plan includes:
Stakeholder Management – Avid Core identifies new stakeholder contacts through compiling existing contact lists maintained by different CBP programs and additional research. We maintain a contact and engagement database for detailed tracking.
Public Comment Management – Avid Core assists with the creation of public outreach materials and the promotion of multiple public comment processes. Our team reads and categorizes all public comments received during public comment periods. Our team also drafts and publishes reports summarizing the information and feedback received.
Congressional and Media Relations – We draft responses to Congressional and media inquiries. Our team assists in the creation of talking points and pre-brief documents for Congressional and White House briefings.
Tribal Engagement – Our team worked to increase collaboration and consultation between tribal governments and agency leadership through clear communication, including coordinating weekly phone calls and informational webinars. Our work offers tribal officials the ability to share concerns and answer questions.
Multilingual Material Development – We distill technical project information into materials accessible to the general public in English and Spanish. We develop letters, informational handouts, presentations, videos, and graphics.
In-Person and Virtual Event Management – Avid Core manages all aspects of in-person and virtual meetings and events. We secure presenters, develop presentations and talking points, draft and distribute invitations and track RSVPs, develop the agenda and create meeting materials, and coordinate preparation meetings. For in-person events, we attend the meeting and assist with registration, meeting logistics, and take record of the meeting. For virtual events, we manage the technology, including providing technical troubleshooting, facilitate questions and answers, and document the meeting. Following the event, we provide a final meeting summary and assist with follow-up items including drafting thank you notes.
Website Management – Avid Core drafts website content for the project, working with the agency’s webmasters to post and deliver content. We also provide recommendations for website design and interactive graphics.
Environmental Expertise and Services – The team provides subject matter experts for the technical review of environmental documents and project documentation, including Environmental Assessments; biological monitoring and surveys; historical, architectural and cultural monitoring and surveys as needed for National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) Section 106; and environmental impact analyses.
As part of this contract, Avid Core has expanded CBP’s database of project-specific stakeholders to more than 5,000 individuals and 770 organization representatives, hosted more than 85 webinars with key stakeholders, and managed more than 30,000 public comments.
Our work has also increased collaboration and consultation between tribal governments and CBP leadership through clear communication, including coordinating weekly phone calls and informational webinars. Tribal engagement efforts have expanded to include outreach to 122 Tribal Nations and an average of 25 communication touchpoints a month.