National Fish & Wildlife Conservation Congress

Programs and Institutions

Question 1. Is there anything that you would change about your vision?

Original Vision:

Wildlife resources are managed in the public trust for sustainable use and enjoyment by future generations through enhanced cooperation among government agencies, non-governmental organizations and other institutions that manage fish and wildlife.

Revised Vision:

Fish and wildlife resources and the ecosystems that support them are resources held in the public trust for the sustainable use and enjoyment by current and future generations through enhanced involvement, commitment and cooperation among the public, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, landowners, First Nations and other institutions that manage fish and wildlife and their habitats.

Question 2: What is preventing your vision from being achieved?

  • Funding
    • Government cutbacks, changing priorities and commitments, bureaucracy, staff turnover
    • Economic pressures, including competition for funding from other interest groups and reduced limited resources
  • Education
    • Limited public interest, awareness and knowledge regarding the importance of fish and wildlife habitat conservation
    • Changing societal values and attitudes, including less connection and interaction with the natural world and the outdoors
    • Educational opportunities for young students (elementary) have not been created
    • Lack of training investment and opportunities for university and college students/graduates and professionals
    • The linkage that conservation creates jobs and sustains the economy has not been made strong enough
    • Lack of trust and appreciation of conservation by industry
  • Collaboration
    • Silos of institutions including overlapping mandates, lack of flexibility and poor knowledge transfer among institutions
    • Appropriate stakeholders have not been engaged
    • Capacity for cooperation and collaboration among stakeholder groups needs improvement
    • Changing agendas of stakeholders and partner fatigue
    • Decision-making does not always take place at the appropriate level
    • Need more long-term commitments to build landowner trust
    • Advisors to government are not advocating for the environment
  • Planning
    • Lack of an over-arching, strategic plan
    • Ineffective communications and marketing
    • Knowledge gaps
    • Periodic reviews and evaluations are not taking place
    • Lack of foresight to build on momentums and successes
    • Opportunities to recognize and use natural capital have not been created
  • Policy
    • Conflicting interpretation of policies, some with harmful impacts, and lack of harmonization
    • Reactive instead of proactive policies
    • Environmental issues (eg., climate change)
    • A national fund dedicated to conservation has not been implemented
  • Other
    • Population growth and urban expansion threaten the sustainability of ecosystems
    • Polarization of the political system
    • Lack of a sense of urgency and lack of public pressure to ensure actions
    • Success is measured by growth and not by impact with current resources

Question 3: What are the opportunities for achieving your vision? Brainstorm a list of recommendations.

  • Funding
    • Develop national funding mechanism
    • Seek new, sustainable funding models and partnerships
    • Expand strategic funding partnerships to include non-traditional groups
    • Fully fund cooperative initiatives such as North American Waterfowl Management Plan Joint Ventures and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service's fish habitat partnerships
  • Education
    • Develop a national education strategy with a common vision
    • Enhance educational programs - develop year-long environmental curriculum to encourage children to develop their interest in wildlife
    • Learn about and understand changing social dynamics within urban and rural communities and target new immigrants by partnering with cultural groups
    • Better communicate the economic value of nature
    • Emphasize the benefits of habitat conservation (eg., water quality) to human health and quality of life
    • Encourage job shadowing and mentoring so that skills are not lost when current conservationists retire
    • Influence university curriculums to better prepare students for conservation careers through cooperative education programs, etc.
    • Provide training and resources for youth that want to work in outdoor roles (eg., young trappers)
    • Convey the message that a cleaner environment means better (improved) urban recreational opportunities
  • Collaboration
    • Need better overall collaboration with all partners including governmental and non-governmental organizations
    • Expand partnerships
    • Create a "one stop" website for conservation, (eg., stewardship opportunities and insights, etc.)
    • Seize on political commitments to conservation
    • Establish a unified voice for conservation by organizing non-governmental organizations under one umbrella organization modeled after organizations like the United Way
    • Work collaboratively towards land-use targets (helps to leverage funding, encourage integrated groups and ensure targets are met)
    • Encourage more local decision making, engagement and accountability
  • Planning
    • Research the wildlife knowledge and interests of new Canadians
    • Expand on National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Congress experiences and outcomes
    • Ensure ecosystem input is a top priority in the fish and wildlife habitat conservation process
    • Identify clearly stated objectives
    • Conservation managers to decide where to focus efforts (based on science) to inform decisions
    • Ensure participation, accessibility to information and better communications
  • Policy
    • Make fish and wildlife stewardship a core value of citizenship
    • Overlap with federal and provincial land-management initiatives and legislations such as the Species at Risk Act, Best Management Practises for fish and wildlife activities (hunting and trapping)
    • Clarification of mandates to ensure better coordination and to streamline policies
    • Implement tax on outdoor equipment and/or create an outdoor education tax or fund
    • Reduction of bureaucracy in the permitting and approval process and the reduction of permitting approval processes for experienced individuals/groups
    • Link to climate change and other environmental issues
    • Periodic and systemic review and evaluation of processes and laws

Question 4: From your brainstorming list, what are the top five recommendations for advancing your vision?

  1. Recommend that the federal government declare fish and wildlife habitat conservation a national priority. Build a wildlife constituency by educating youth, enhancing nature educations and outdoor guidance and reaching out to all citizens to recognize the value of natural capital and to make stewardship a core value and improve the public's connection to nature and wildlife.
  2. Establish strategic traditional and non-traditional partnerships among private and public institutions to work collaboratively towards conservation-based land-use planning and delivery and fully fund existing cooperative ventures (e.g., Great Lakes Fishery Commission, North American Waterfowl Management Plan Joint Ventures and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services fish habitat partnerships)
  3. Create more opportunities for institutions to teach outdoor awareness and education programs which to help improve the public connection to the natural world.
  4. Encourage all institutions to create more opportunities to recognize the economic and social value and uses of natural capital.
  5. Ensure that permitting and approval processes are streamlined and properly and efficiently coordinated among institutions.
  6. Build a constituency for fish and wildlife conservation.
  7. Build on this Congress model for the future by creating an executive body to act on Congress recommendations and to report back at next Congress.
  8. Identify new, sustainable funding models and delivery instruments.

Question 5: For each of your five recommendations, what role do governments, First Nations, non-governmental organizations, private sector, communities and landowners play in advancing your vision?

All of the above-listed institutions have a role to play in advancing the five recommendations within the Programs and Institutions vision. Each institution would be responsible for defining their specific role in the process of achieving the vision under the following five categories:

  1. Education
  2. Funding
  3. Collaboration
  4. Vision/Mandate
  5. Future Congress - Create a Secretariat

Government Role

  • Champions for conservation, ensure that all stakeholders are at the table (the "glue" of the conservation community)
  • Provide dedicated funding
  • Funding "experts"
  • Funding and collaboration through fish and wildlife stamps, taxes on camping gear, etc.
  • Provide resources such as education
  • Enacts laws, regulations and policies
  • Foster partnerships

First Nations

  • Potential to reach out to new generations of First Nations youth
  • Cultural relevance is unique (eg., Traditional Knowledge)

Non-governmental Organizations

  • Play a lead role in the coordination of funding options
  • Lobby for new funding and taxes
  • Access to funds for campaigns
  • Have strong conservation-minded memberships
  • Receive seed money from large organizations (industry)
  • Mobile applications for important sites
  • Strong collaborations with private landowners
  • Access to trusts, foundation and endowments
  • Industry partnerships
  • Connections with citizen scientists and citizen science programs
  • specialized vs. landscape planning
  • Non-traditional delivery mechanism for conservation program, (e.g., Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters Species Call-in Line)

Private Sector

  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Initiatives (approach medium-sized business)