John S. McCain III
National Center for Environmental Conflict Resolution

Project Case Summary

Barry M. Goldwater Range:
Military Training and Protection of Endangered Species
May 2004-August 2005

Location: Arizona


The Barry M. Goldwater Range (Goldwater Range) is one of the premier combat aviation training ranges available to the Department of Defense. It will remain critical to the military readiness of the armed services into the foreseeable future. At the same time, the Range comprises 42 percent of the current U.S. habitat for the endangered Sonoran pronghorn and is necessary to the recovery of the species.

Managing the dual responsibilities for military training and endangered species protection at the Goldwater Range requires careful coordination of training missions with species monitoring and recovery efforts. The 2004 National Defense Authorization Act directed the Secretary of Defense to establish a task force to explore ways of balancing these dual objectives at the Goldwater Range.

The Task Force included representatives from the military, state and federal wildlife agencies, and wildlife and environmental interest groups. The group's charge was to provide Congress with a report describing its assessment, determinations, and recommendations for addressing the dual mission of the range. U.S. Institute staff and contracted neutrals provided assessment, convening, facilitation, and evaluation services to assist the task force.


  • Task Force recommendations included advice on improving congressionally chartered task forces to address these kinds of issues on other military training ranges.
  • When asked to rate the effectiveness of the Task Force Process against their "next best alternative," the members reported that the task force process better served participant interests, more effectively addressed key issues, and provided results less likely to be challenged.

Results and Accomplishments

In early 2005, the Task Force reached consensus on recommendations and forwarded them to Congress.

An evaluation revealed that the Task Force members viewed the process positively. Based on survey responses from all the task force members:

  • Consensus agreement was reached on issues addressed during the process. The recommendations, if implemented, will effectively resolve the conflict.
  • The process increased the members' capacity to work together cooperatively to solve problems and resolve conflict. It also improved their overall trust in each other.
  • Task Force members said that they would endorse the use of collaboration in similar situations.

In the words of Task Force members, anticipated longer-term impacts of the project are:

"Recovery of pronghorn with application of appropriate management activities," and to "set an excellent example for future collaborations on potential problems."


Partners from National Roster of ECR Practitioners
Connie Lewis and Dennis Ellis, The Meridian Institute
John Huyler and Denis Donald, The Osprey Group Assessment and Facilitation Team

U.S. Institute Project Lead
Michael Eng
Senior Program Manager
Protected Areas and Resources
Phone: (520) 901-8542; FAX: (520) 670-5530
E-mail:; Web site:

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