National Fish & Wildlife Conservation Congress

Science and Planning

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


Science plays a vital role in sustaining abundant fish and wildlife populations for future generations while maintaining the public trust and sustainable-use traditions associated with these populations.

Revised Vision:

Science is vital to the management and sustainability of fish and wildlife populations for future generations.

Notes on Vision

  • Scientific process is generally better understood than "science" alone
  • Clarify future desired state...e.g., the scientific process plays a vital role
  • Clarify audience
  • Need to be mindful of the public trust and sustainable-use traditions associated with fish and wildlife populations. Science can help inform management decisions and reassure the public.

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

  • Funding
    • Lack of resources further exacerbated by recent economic climate
    • Perceived risk of losing support or funding from non-governmental organizations and government organizations alike
    • Lack of capacity (staff and financial) for proper attention to natural resources
  • Education
    • Need an improved understanding of science by managers and the public
    • Failure to present the role and meaning of science
      • Adaptive management is complex to some, or often presented as more complex than it is necessarily is
      • Inability to present results in plain language
    • Lack of support and interest from general public
    • Science often presents "inconvenient truths"
    • Science uses logic to communicate with an often illogical audience
    • Changing human demographics
  • Collaboration
    • Lack of communication among managers, researchers, planners and policy makers
      • Leading to a reduction in public trust
      • Inadequate engagement of stakeholders
    • Need better collaboration between social and natural sciences
    • Failure to communicate the role of scientists and the relevance of their findings to stakeholders and Rights-based stakeholders
    • Lack of public accessibility to researchers and their results
    • Lack of opportunity for partners and the public to experience first-hand ground-level conservation projects in action
    • Lack of leadership
    • Lack of public support leading to lack of political risk
  • Planning and Policy
    • Political uncertainty makes it difficult to develop long-term plans/goals
    • Adaptive management process can be prohibitive (cost, time, complexity) and fragile
    • Changing public needs (food and energy versus wildlife) and the lack of understanding that fish and wildlife habitat contributes to a higher quality of life for humans
    • Informed policy and decision makers, not just scientists, need to have input on the prioritization of science programs and initiatives
    • Constraints on departmental/agency professionals in making public statements and/or recommendations (e.g., climate change)
    • Inherent disincentive in government agencies to lead/think proactively

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

  • Funding
  • Education
    • Encourage management-based academic programs through partnerships between universities and other agencies
    • Make science relevant and communicate benefits to non-traditional audiences by publicizing science-based conservation success stories using traditional forms of communication as well as modern applications such as Facebook, Twitter and mobile phone applications
    • Develop and encourage visits to demonstration projects - on-the-ground examples
    • Create science programs for understanding and communicating science in school curriculums
    • Communicate to diverse audiences - administrators, children, students
    • Need stronger leaders and role models for people to associate with science - lack of a modern-day Leopold or Roosevelt (only Suzuki)
    • Remove constraints on scientific community (e.g. government employees) to communicate
  • Collaboration
    • Organizations and agencies should provide more ideas about research priorities to universities to guide students and faculty looking for research projects and to other research groups
    • Encourage cross-disciplinary relationships and collaborations (e.g., requiring an assortment of disciplines to receive grants)
    • Citizen science - make the science process participatory and fun for all ages, while being mindful of improving the quality of data collection
    • Increased inclusion of public in research (GPS, Crane Tracker, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) creates public ownership
    • Work more closely with First Nations
    • Work more closely with landowners - make fish and wildlife an asset
    • Work collaboratively and not in silos
    • Include adaptive management in government protocols (funding regimes that match research needs - one-year and multi-year plans)
    • Engage audiences that may not already be actively involved in fish and wildlife conservation - First Nations, industry, landowners
    • Encourage a greater openness, sharing and accountability among agencies and partners
    • Develop trusting, interdisciplinary partnerships, community-based participatory research
  • Planning and Policy
    • Renew the high-level commitment to science as the foundation of resource management
    • Facilitate structured decision making
    • Promote incentives for management-oriented research (e.g., partnerships, co-ops, cross-appointments, strengthened working relationships)
    • Management to proactively identify science research needs and communicate them to the academic community
    • Revitalize/renew the fish and wildlife commitment to science

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

  1. Communicate the role of science as the foundation of fish and wildlife conservation and renew the high-level commitment to its vital role in the decision-making process by communicating science findings (success stories and issues of concern) in plain language and to a broad public audience.
  2. Engage a broad suite of participants (traditional and non-traditional) in science planning and programming in an effort to better identify and prioritize science research needs among decision makers, scientists, managers and user groups from government, non-governmental organizations, academia, etc.
  3. Promote a variety of incentives for management-oriented research including cross-disciplinary, cross-agency, governmental, non-governmental organizations and community-based participatory research.
  4. Embrace new technologies, such as Facebook and Twitter, to encourage public participation and understanding of scientific news and issues.
  5. Encourage citizen science programs to include the local/traditional knowledge community to reach a broader and more diverse audience.
  6. Encourage early education of the participatory/collaborative vision and science-based decision making process by bringing pure natural sciences back into the education system.
  7. Reinforce the need for strong and informed management and leaders to help direct fish and wildlife conservation efforts.
  8. Remove constraints on research staff to communicate findings and recommendations - (i.e., the institutional/corporate/political filters).


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?

Not fully completed - Insufficient time

Federal Government Role

Provincial Government Role

Non-governmental Organizations

  • Facilitators of partnerships at small scale (program and project)

Private Sector

  • Supporter
  • Funder

First Nations

  • As champion of need (cumulative impacts, endangered species) at large, jurisdictional scale