Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Out of the frying pan ...

... and into the fire! Last week was the AMCS meeting with everyone by and large on the same page with regards to AM. This week is the Missouri River Natural Resources Conference in Nebraska City, where AM was mentioned by nearly every plenary speaker, although I'm not sure there is a clear and shared understanding of what those words actually mean. One thing is clear - the Missouri River is the focus of one of the largest, if not the largest, ecosystem recovery programs in the country. And there is hope that AM will play a significant role in this effort.

A couple of key take home messages from this morning:
  • John Seeronen pointed out that AM does not excuse an agency from meeting regulatory requirements under other legislation.
  • Erik Blechinger gave a preview of some future guidance from the USACE on the overall goals of ecosystem recovery - it will seek strategies to simultaneously maximize economic, social and environmental outcomes. Hm. I thought it was well known that it is impossible to simultaneously maximize more than one objective.
  • Never, ever, use black text on a dark blue background for a powerpoint. Never. 'nuff said.
  • John Cooper, who has spent alot of time in DC and is a past president of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies said that AM plans must deal with climate change, somehow.
John Seeronen has also prepared an excellent legal history of litigation in the Missouri Basin with respect to reservoir operations - useful background reading.

The afternoon was parallel sessions on BiOp actions and Pallid Sturgeon. I hung out mostly in the sturgeon sessions trying to learn something useful. What I learned is that there is a tremendous amount of information accumulating, what analysis is being done is fragmented across agencies, and none of it is connected to the decision making. And, despite some assertions to the contrary, decisions are being made.

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