My work as an SDM coach is by far the most impactful, meaningful contribution I make to wildlife management in this country.
I volunteer as a structured decision making coach for the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), typically once per year. I was one of many participants in the “first draft” of the SDM workshops held at NCTC in 2006 which ultimately lead to a publication demonstrating my ability to construct stochastic dynamic programming models (Tyre et al 2011). In 2008 I coached a group of staff from US Army Corps of Engineers and US FWS on the Missouri River that led to the extensive work documented below. In 2013 I coached a group of biologists from the Atlantic coast through the process of decision making for Piping Plover recovery (see published NCTC report). That effort is continuing and will significantly influence on the ground conservation for the species in the future. In early 2014 I served as the “lead coach” for an SDM workshop, overseeing 6 teams from across the continent on everything from setting permit conditions for importation of endangered species to allocation of fire management funds at a continental scale.
In 2014 I worked with the Management Board of the ArcticGoose Joint Venture on whether or not to implement “direct control” measures for the mid-continental population of light geese. These measures would be in addition to the current expanded sport harvest. As a result of the workshop the board was able to conclude that the potential gains from direct control were too small or too uncertain to offset a very large political cost of – and near-certainty of legal challenges to – direct control. They now have a very solid framework for revisiting this decision in the future, and a clear place to use new scientific information.
Now I'm working with Nebraska Game and Parks Commission on Deer Harvest Management. Hard to see where that will go, but I'm pretty happy with this body of work to date.