We need a bigger table…

As we’re on the doorstep of Thanksgiving (at the time this was written), I felt it would be fitting to [attempt to] try and compare management and policy implementation to Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey is great, but a meal, it does not make. You need stuffing as well, probably some sort of potato dish (or 3), gravy, rolls, cranberries, blah, blah, yadda yadda – You get the picture.
It’s similar to creating and implementing actions and management plans for land use, wildlife, and resources, etc. Timing restrictions near sage grouse leks, a conservation plan does not make. You need habitat protections, and improvements. You need seasonal habitat ranges identified. You need a cornucopia (see what I did there?) of information at several different scales, and all the while, you still need to manage for other land use/purposes (recreation, minerals, etc.). Protection around winter roost sites alone doesn’t satisfy all there is to eagle protection, the same way if I slapped down a tofurkey and some green beans, you’d probably (and deservedly) label it one of the worst Thanksgiving dinners… ever (subtle message to some of you, leave your tofurkey at home).
And that’s just addressing the ingredients. A huge spread while eating it alone, a Thanksgiving meal, it does not make. Without different offices and agencies all cooperating and doing their best to address and identify a common goal to work towards, these plans can easily fall short. It’s important to keep in mind; one can clean the bird, while the other cooks it. I’ll peel the potatoes and you mash them. You distract so-and-so, and I’ll chuck the tofurkey in the garbage. Much in the same way, we collect the survey data, and they can collect vegetation information. In the end, in the same way you share a meal over the holiday season to increase the level of enjoyment, the best conservation plans and management goals are reached with similar cooperation and partnerships.
This is mainly off the heels of the kinds of communication I’ve witnessed at some level-1 team meetings here in Wyoming, where representatives from different agencies work together to share information and move towards common goals. I’ve also recently witnessed this at a workshop for identifying seasonal sage-grouse habitat where private sector and public agency personnel share input (both while sitting a large tables) to reach a goal with shared aspects. None of these plans will ever taste as good as a deep-fried turkey, but you get the picture… Happy Thanksgiving.


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