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200735200 - Feasibility Study and Implementation of a System-wide Conservation Enforcement Web-Based Data Center

Sponsor: Steven Vigg & Company

Budgets: FY07: $163,090 | FY08: $102,290 | FY09: $92,489

Short description: Evaluate alternatives, plan the design, and implement a web-based conservation enforcement information center – that would maximize the accountability, effectiveness, and public awareness of fish, wildlife & habitat law enforcement in the Columbia Basin.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $0 | FY08: $0 | FY09: $0

Comment:

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable (Qualified)

Comment:

This project would address a need that has been recognized in the Basin for some time, and would re-initiate coordination efforts that existed in the 1990s. Cost-effective enforcement is the foundation on which fish and wildlife recovery will succeed, and fish and wildlife would certainly benefit from system-wide coordination of conservation enforcement data. However, the proposal would be improved by more explicit descriptions of the relationship between the data center and improvements in fish and wildlife survival. The proposal provides an extensive discussion of the history (since 1978) of efforts on regional enforcement coordination. A good interpretive discussion describes the role of BPA funding in conservation enforcement, the need for enforcement in tribal areas, and the need for an enforcement database. Past work evaluating coordinated enforcement is described. It would be helpful to also have better perspective on the magnitude and characteristics of the enforcement problem; e.g. number of violations, geographic and seasonal patterns, and type of violations. The proposal discusses the role of enforcement as the basis for accountability of fish and wildlife restoration and management. It discusses the increasing level of expectations in the Columbia Basin to demonstrate effectiveness and cost-effectiveness and the importance of accounting for illegal take rather than having it embedded in "other sources" of mortality. The web-based conservation enforcement system is proposed as a way to provide regional sharing of enforcement information on a real time basis to benefit both enforcement actions and public education. The link to biological outcomes is made through having a geo-references enforcement database to better enforce biological actions. Overall, the proposal makes a good case for the importance of enforcement as the basis for conservation, and for the integrated enforcement information as a way to make enforcement more effective. The proposal’s four objectives are to coordinate with fish and wildlife entities, compile and analyze existing information, design the web-based system, develop an implementation plan, and implement the system. Tasks are listed under each objective, with methods for data protocols provided in greater detail in the introduction. Specific data and locations are identified. The number of different databases and separate data housing locations make a good case for the need for an integrated and coordinated approach. The effort involved to coordinate such a large amount of data is substantial, and may be underestimated. Effective results will depend on the goodwill of several agencies to contribute the data. An assessment of coordination will be made by metrics such as the number of agencies contributing data and web usage statistics, but to evaluate ultimate effectiveness of the project, some link to improved fish and wildlife survival will need to be made. The ISRP is not requesting a response, but the proposal would be improved by providing more specific information on the following: 1. The magnitude and nature of enforcement problems; 2. How spatially-based information sharing would address enforcement problems; 3. How the website would monitor effectiveness of enforcement; 4. How better enforcement would increase fish and wildlife survival; 5. How the project will elicit cooperation between enforcement entities and the data center.

State/province recommendation: MS: Do Not Fund

Review group: MSRT

Recommended budgets: FY07: (n/a) | FY08: (n/a) | FY09: (n/a)

Comment: No comments.