Sources of Help
INRMPs are frequently, if not always, the product of working groups, assembled
for the purpose of gathering material for the plan and, later, for monitoring its
progress. Sometimes private consultancy groups or universities are contracted to
do the information collection and actual writing of the document. The working
groups almost certainly include persons from the base itself, the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service (USFWS), the state department of natural resources (or fish and
game department), and others. The Sikes Act requires that the plan be prepared
by the installation, USFWS, and appropriate state agency. Since USFWS's active involvement
was mandated by 1997 amendments to the Sikes Act, the agency has
developed procedures to assist in producing the plans and in streamlining the USFWS approval process once the plan is submitted. (Lewis Gorman, USFWS's liaison
with the Department of Defense on endangered species matters, says some
at DoD might refer to his agency as "regulators, but we consider ourselves the cooperators.
We are excellent partners with each other.")
Anyone can have access to the expertise from a computer screen. USFWS maintains
a website, "The Sikes Act a Dynamic Partnership" at http://www.fws.gov/habitatconservation/sikes_act.htm, and within that site there are links to the important
aspects of INRMPs endangered species, fisheries, invasive species, migratory
birds, law enforcement, wetlands, and environmental contaminants.
Another fountain of data is the Department of Defense itself, through its DENIX
website (https://www.denix.osd.mil). The site contains links to INRMP guidance
documents; the text of the agreement among the DoD and USFWS and the International
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (now called the Association of
Fish and Wildlife Agencies); a document titled "Best Practices for Integrated Natural
Resources Management Plan (INRMP) Implementation"; and many others.
The DENIX site also contains links to information on state wildlife action plans,
which installation managers will find useful in assembling their INRMPs. Such plans
now exist for all 56 states and territories. These are federal-state collaborations
aimed at collecting information on, monitoring, and designing conservation plans
for wildlife. There is more information at http://www.wildlifeactionplans.org/.
And the Legacy program itself is a great source of information. The Legacy
Resource Management Program was created in 1990 by Congress to financially
assist DoD efforts to preserve cultural and natural heritage, while supporting military
readiness. (The Legacy Program also supported the development of the original
DoD Biodiversity Conservation Handbook in 1996, as well as this updated
version.) The program is explained at http://www.DoDlegacy.org/Legacy/intro/LegacyGuidebook_print_June07.pdf, with additional information at https://www.denix.osd.mil.
NoNGOvernmental organizations (NGOs) are another useful supplier of wisdom.
They include The Nature Conservancy (http://www.nature.org) and NatureServe
(http://www.natureserve.org/). Of special interest at the NatureServe site are its
reports on species at risk on DOD installations (see http://www.natureserve.org/prodServices/speciesatRiskDoD.jsp).
Finding funding is a constant interest (and concern) of natural resources managers,
as some of them explain in chapter 9. Although there are no Web-based
ATM machines to cough up endless streams of money for species counting, wetlands
monitoring, and the other components of INRMPs, the Legacy Program does
provide a 235-page handbook, "Resources for INRMP Implementation," that explores
the budgeting system (one chapter subtitle is "How to get funds.") The
link is https://www.denix.osd.mil.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service files reports with Congress on its activities
and expenditures relating to INRMPs. The June 2006 report, covering the fiscal
year 2005, is at http://www.fws.gov/habitatconservation/FY%2005%20Sikes%20Report%20to%20Congress.pdf.
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