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How can USFWS most effectively deliver aquatic habitat programs in the Midwest?
Midwest Region, January 7, 2011
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“Habitat’s where it’s at” seems to be the mantra for more and more fish biologists and agencies, and the Midwest Region of the USFWS is no exception. The Midwest Region Fisheries Program has been proactive in our efforts to effectively implement the National Fish Passage Program and more recently, to implement the National Fish Habitat Action Plan.

In an effort to continue the “proactive” and “effective” themes, habitat biologists gathered with Project Leaders, Regional Habitat Coordinators, and Regional Fisheries leadership to discuss the future of our habitat efforts.

What’s working?

What’s not working?

Where do we want to be in 10 years? 20 years?

What is our vision for the habitat program?

How can we work more effectively across programs?

And, ultimately, how can we do our best for our priority species and habitats?

These were the types of questions that were addressed during our week-long meeting. Through a variety of large group and breakout sessions, we tackled the tough questions in an environment where “rank” was set aside and all ideas were considered on equal footing.

The result, 100 pages of material from our facilitator (most of it from flip charts from the various sessions), establishing several teams to further address specific topics, and two upcoming one-day meetings to regroup and review the additional work of the teams.

Overall, this has been a very healthy and much needed activity given the somewhat disparate development, over time, of the various habitat elements in the Fisheries Program (and in other USFWS programs).Results of this effort will help not only the Midwest Region, but will likely be very applicable in other regions and/or nationally.

Contact Info: Rob Simmonds, 618-997-6869, rob_simmonds@fws.gov



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