TWS to Host N.A. Conference Workshop on Science & Management

By TWS’ Government Affairs & Partnerships Team

©Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management, licensed by cc 2.0

The Wildlife Society is working with several partners to host a workshop titled Barriers and Bridges in Reconnecting Natural Resources Science and Management, which will examine the complicated relationship between natural resources science and management. This workshop will take place from 1:00pm-5:00pm on Tuesday, March 15 at the 81st North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. All interested parties are encouraged to attend and engage in discussions.

The relationship between science and management has traditionally been thought of as mutually reinforcing, with scientific investigation and discovery informing management, and management helping to guide and focus science. North America’s vast collection of scientific understanding that today underlies the management of fish and wildlife attests to the long and successful record of interaction between these two functions.

Recent trends however suggest a slow unraveling of this integration within the natural resources community. One of many examples is seen in attendance at the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources conferences and the annual meetings of The Wildlife Society and American Fisheries Society (AFS). Since the early 1990s, attendance at the N.A. Conference has trended away from the sciences. In the same timeframe, TWS and AFS conference attendance has become further removed from resource management. This separation is also reflected in the staffing, funding, and organizational trends of federal and state agencies, with an ever-increasing isolation between science and management and in some cases the outsourcing of science to other agencies.

This workshop will engage the audience in identifying the causes of these trends and possible steps that can be taken to reconnect natural resources science and management. This will include exploring institutional arrangements in the natural resources profession that have proven successful in sustaining linkages between science and management, as well as those that have proven unsuccessful.

Discussions will include examining science capacity in state agencies, trends in university research and education, and the challenges and barriers in maintaining connections between science and management. Presenters will also discuss ways in which to improve the communication of scientific findings to managers, as well as ways to strengthen the role of management in targeting and designing scientific investigations.

This workshop is being organized by TWS, AFS, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Cooperative Research Units. Presenters and panelists will include TWS Past-President and Chief of the USGS Cooperative Research Units John Organ, TWS Executive Director Ken Williams, AFS Executive Director Doug Austen, several state agency directors, university leaders and scientists, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service executives, and other leaders within USGS.

You can register to attend the 81st North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference and this workshop at www.wildlifemanagementinstitute.org.