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Mine-Scarred Lands Initiative Tool Kit: Involving Subject Matter Experts

The demonstration projects have shown that even the most well-rounded project teams sometimes have to seek expert assistance to deal with the multi-disciplinary issues and challenges associated with revitalizing former mines. For example, some of the MSL Initiative communities found that they needed an environmental consultant to understand contamination issues, an engineer to assess cleanup options, an attorney to help explore liability management approaches, or a community planner to evaluate economic development possibilities. Careful selection of subject matter experts and clear expectations about the tasks they were to perform was essential to project success. Considerations learned from these projects include:

  • Be clear about what services the expert should provide and identify the points in the project where those services would provide the greatest benefit.
  • Ensure experts can demonstrate relevant experience (e.g., have they done this kind of work before; can they provide project descriptions and references, etc.).
  • Explain to the experts how their assistance fits into the overall project context. Be clear about the desired product, when it needs to be completed to meet related deadlines, and what role the expert will play in project team decisions.
  • Jointly draft a statement of work with the expert so there is a shared understanding of tasks, timelines and deliverables.
  • Have the expert present information to the broader community on what he is doing, when appropriate.

Resources

CAL-EPA Guide to Selecting an Environmental Consultant (PDF) (329 K, 8 pp, About PDF)
Though this resource contains some California-specific information, it provides general information for any party on developing an RFP and selecting an appropriate environmental consultant.

 

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