KENNEWICK, Wash. – William D. Ruckelshaus, the first administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, will head a list of luminaries who will discuss collaborative problem solving and the services provided by the William D. Ruckelshaus Center. The discussion will take place at the Tri-City Development Council Membership Luncheon at 11:30 a.m., Dec. 9, at the Three Rivers Convention Center.

Ruckelshaus currently serves on a variety of boards and as strategic director with Madrona Venture Group, a Seattle-based investment company. He chairs the Ruckelshaus Center, which was named in his honor by WSU’s and the University of Washington’s regents.

Other scheduled speakers include former Sen. Slade Gorton; Ralph Munro, former state secretary of state; and Jack Creighton, a strategic director of the Madrona Venture Group. All three are members of the Ruckelshaus Center board of directors.

The Ruckelshaus Center was formed five years ago to serve as a neutral resource for collaborative problem solving and provides expertise to improve the quality and availability of voluntary collaborative approaches for policy development and multi-party dispute resolution. It is housed jointly at WSU Extension and the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington.

The center is guided by an advisory board of prominent local and state leaders representing a broad range of constituencies and geographic locations.

The center has helped water users in the Walla Walla Basin craft an approach to manage local water use while supporting fish recovery. This resulted in an unprecedented offer by the Washington Department of Ecology to permit local water management if water users in the Walla Walla Basin could commit to delivering prescribed stream flows.

In 2007, Gov. Chris Gregoire and the Washington State Legislature asked the center to help resolve conflicts surrounding agricultural activities and the development and implementation of protection for critical areas of agricultural lands.

For additional information and to register for the luncheon, contact Kristi Kesler, director of member services for TRIDEC at (509) 735-1000. Sponsorships are still being sought.