TWS Revamps Position Statements – Member Review Requested

By Keith Norris

©Theo Stein-USFWS

The Wildlife Society has a collection of powerful position statements on a wide variety of issues pertinent to wildlife management, conservation, and the profession. These formal statements serve to convey the scientific underpinnings and the wildlife profession’s stance on conservation, management and social issues that impact wildlife.

TWS’ Council has been working with Government Affairs & Partnerships staff over the past couple of years to enhance and strengthen the use of our position statements by creating a new structure for our policy-related documents. The Society has generated quite a list of statements over the years, and there was a general recognition that the process of creating, issuing, and revising position statements was relatively cumbersome. The process being utilized restricted our Society’s ability to effectively and efficiently address policy and management issues in a timely manner.

Council responded by revamping the structure of our Society’s written positions and related documents. Council created two new styles of policy-related documents to complement our continued use of position statements – “Standing Positions” and “Issue Statements”.

  • Standing Positions are former TWS position statements that have been identified as long-standing, foundational positions of TWS that are rarely in need of review and modification. Standing positions are generally broad topic statements fundamental to wildlife conservation and/or the wildlife profession.
  • Position Statements are generally broad in scope. They contain factual background data and convey probable biological, social, and economic outcomes of actions. These are reviewed every 5 years by TWS Council.
  • Issue Statements apply broader policies contained in TWS Standing Positions and Position Statements to specific situations or topics.

These two new styles help create a hierarchy of documents that can be tailored to specific uses.  As such, TWS Government Affairs Staff, the Conservation Affairs Network, and TWS members will be able to engage in policy issues more efficiently and effectively.

Each of these documents and the processes involved in approving them are explained in more detail in the Policy Engagement Documents report, which Council approved in October 2015. Included in this report are other materials used to support and direct TWS’ policy activities, including Technical Reviews, Letters/Comments/Testimonies, and Fact Sheets.

Following the creation of the new framework, a Council Subcommittee examined existing position statements to determine which could be re-designated as Standing Positions or Issue Statements, as well as those that were outdated or could be consolidated. Council approved the re-categorization of some position statements in October 2015; those new designations are available at www.wildlife.org/position-statements.

Two new position statements have been drafted by the Council Subcommittee titled “Invasive & Feral Species” and “Energy Development &Wildlife”. These position statements were consolidated from several related position statements to allow for a simpler, more streamlined approach to related issues and to provide a more clear expression of TWS’ positions. These consolidated statements are now available for a 60-day TWS member review, per Council’s direction.

TWS Members can review the draft statements at www.wildlife.org/position-statements and send all comments and suggested edits to Caroline Murphy, Government Affairs Associate, caroline.murphy@wildlife.org. Comments are due by 6 March 2016.

keith norrisKeith Norris, MA, MS, AWB®, is director of Government Affairs and Partnerships for The Wildlife Society.

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