Conservation Planning and Policy

Contributed Paper
ROOM: Room 240 – La Cienega

10:30AM Meet WiLA and What It Took to Make Meaningful New Wildlife Legislation in the Northwest Territories, Canada
Robert Gau; Christine Glowach; Lynda Yonge (retired)
The creation of new wildlife legislation in the Northwest Territories (NWT), Canada, took 15 years and over $1.5 million. New legislation comes with new challenges and the drafting of this legislation in the NWT dealt with several complex issues related to wildlife management, constitutionally protected Aboriginal and treaty rights, and NWT stakeholder involvement. The end result after multiple attempts was a groundbreaking governmental approach to legislative drafting that would not only help ensure that new legislation helps protect wildlife in the NWT, but would also provide enabling legislation that respects Aboriginal and treaty wildlife harvesting rights and land claim processes, while providing a tool for effective wildlife management well into the future. The new, collaborative process to drafting the wildlife legislation involved representatives from organizations with a settled land claim agreement along with their legal counsel sitting side-by-side with government representatives and legal drafters to develop the legislation. Every provision, every section of the new Wildlife Act (or WiLA) was collaboratively completed. Enacted in 2014, WiLA now applies to all species of vertebrates and invertebrates, other than fish (because that is a federal responsibility), in the NWT including big game and small game mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects.
10:50AM Addressing Ecological, Economic, and Social Tradeoffs of Refuge Expansion in a Constrained Landscape
Marjorie R. Liberati; Chadwick D. Rittenhouse; Jason C. Vokoun
Conservation planning has primarily focused on the ecology of landscapes and has been slower to consider economic and social factors as potential synergies and constraints. This is increasingly relevant for contemporary landscapes in which there is not enough raw land left to achieve all conservation goals without bumping up against inherent tradeoffs. We explore tradeoffs among ecological, economic, and social objectives in a real-world context with the proposed expansion of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish & Wildlife Refuge, located in the Connecticut River watershed that is home to over 2.3 million people. Conservation objectives include maximizing total protected habitat for US Federal trust species, while minimizing economic objectives of land acquisition cost, loss of tax base, and loss of potential value from future development. Social objectives, expressed as zoning regulations, town character, and development risk, reflect the potential value of properties and community support for acquisition projects. We used efficiency frontiers (i.e., Pareto fronts) to identify how multiple objectives may be accomplished without incurring unacceptable losses to any one objective. Frontiers will be developed with the NSGA-II genetic algorithm which produce diverse and spatially-specific solutions for multi-objective problems. The solutions in the efficiency frontiers can be used to identify strategies that achieve multiple objectives and provide decision-making insight into tradeoff thresholds and synergies that exist between social-ecological objectives in order to better implement conservation goals for the refuge.
11:10AM Planning for Urban Biodiversity: A Global Review of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Plans
Charles H. Nilon; Myla F.J. Aronson; Sarel S. Cilliers; Cynnamon Dobbs; Lauren J. Frazee; Mark A. Goddard; Karen M. O’Neill; Debra Roberts; Emilie K. Stander; Peter Werner; Marten Winter; Ken P. Yocom
Since the 1980’s wildlife professionals in urban areas have advocated for incorporating guidelines and policies for conserving wildlife species and their habitats into the planning process of cities. Increasingly, as cities address concerns about sustainability and resilience, these wildlife conservation guidelines are being incorporated in broader plans addressing biodiversity and ecosystem services. Because cities provide opportunities for forwarding global biodiversity and sustainability goals we want to understand: What are the biodiversity and ecosystem service attributes that are relevant for urban planning?; Which of these attributes do cities include in their plans?; How do cities differ in their use of these attributes?; and, Do plan attributes for cities in biodiversity hotspots and/or cities participating in the Convention on Biological Diversity’s City Biodiversity Index program differ from those in other cities? We studied plans from 40 cities in 25 countries that were selected from previous studies of urban biodiversity and ecosystem services. We used a literature search to identify key attributes for conserving biodiversity and for ecosystem services that should be included in urban-planning documents, and reviewed 135 planning documents from the 40 cities. We used principal components analysis to identify combinations of attributes that described differences among the 135 plans and among the 40 cities. Most cities included both biodiversity and ecosystem services, however most cities focused on one or the other. The most common attributes in city plans were goals for habitat conservation, air and water quality, cultural ecosystem services, and ecological connectivity. Few plans included quantitative targets addressing wildlife species and habitats. The majority of plans with quantitative targets were from cities with local, regional or national laws requiring urban biodiversity biodiversity conservation. The lack of measurable targets may limit the effectiveness of city plans as tools for urban wildlife conservation and broader biodiversity planning.
11:30AM Maximizing Our Effectiveness: State Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Public Trust
Terra A. Rentz; Jacqueline Frair
A cornerstone of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is that wildlife be held in trust by government agencies on behalf of the public. In the United States that trust was established under auspices of the Public Trust Doctrine. Nearly every state has concepts or language emanating from the Public Trust Doctrine reflected in their constitution, case law, or other legal precedent. Yet agencies and programs vary greatly in structure and function. Arguably the organizational and conservation effectiveness of different state agencies also varies. The objectives of this study are to evaluate state agency effectiveness and the role effective management plays in upholding principles of the Public Trust Doctrine. Using a survey instrument developed in 1993 and contemporarily applied to 23 state fish and wildlife agencies we investigate the characteristics that define effective agencies and how those agencies have changed over time. Given the critical issues facing wildlife management such as declining fiscal resources, changing stakeholder demographics, and broadening agency mandates the need to evaluate issues facing agency effectiveness is paramount. Informed through the participation of over 5,000 state agency employees, our investigations illuminate shared barriers and opportunities to achieving effectiveness for state fish and wildlife agencies, helping to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of wildlife for future generations.
11:50AM Slow Dancing Under the Methane Cloud – the Uneasy Relationship of Policy and Biology in the Gas Patch
James Ramakka
Since the passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has strived to meet its mandate to manage public lands for multiple uses. The conflicts and contradictions of public policy faced by the BLM are seldom more evident than in San Juan Basin of New Mexico, one of the largest and oldest natural gas producing areas in the nation. More than 90 years of energy development have produced highly fragmented habitat, yet mule deer and elk and other high priority species like nesting golden eagles persist in the altered landscape. The objective of this paper is to present the San Juan Basin as a case study of the effects of national policies related to energy production and wildlife conservation over the last 4 decades. The more wildlife biologists understand how these policies influence decision makers, the more effective they can be in making strategic use of the land use planning process to incorporate wildlife conservation objectives.


Contributed Paper
Location: Albuquerque Convention Center Date: September 26, 2017 Time: 10:30 am - 12:10 pm