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FY2018/19 Goals and Objectives

Directors's Office

The Director’s Office is responsible for overall department direction regarding policy, planning, program development, guidelines, and decision-making for key resource activities. Finances, legal services, human resources management, land administration, and information technology support are also administered here. The governor-appointed Fish and Wildlife Commission and Montana State Parks and Recreation Board provide policy direction on resource management, seasons, and use of department lands.

Goal: Agency Direction and Management
The Director’s Office will manage, provide direction, and support department programs in an effective manner.

Agency Direction Objectives:

  • Implement the department's Vision and Guide at all levels of the department.
  • Increase efficiency, efficacy, and accountability of agency programs.
  • Clarify roles and responsibilities for program management.
  • Cultivate an innovative work environment and culture that encourages creativity and idea sharing to build new solutions.
  • Improve transparency of FWP decision making and develop new mechanisms of engaging and informing the public.
  • Improve internal communication and coordination within the agency leading to increased department unity and effectiveness.
  • Build on efforts to broaden support and funding of FWP's management of fish, wildlife, and state parks resources.

Legal Advice and Defense Objectives:

  • Ensure that management decisions comply with applicable provisions of constitution, statutes, and rules.
  • Defend challenges to department management decisions.

Human Resources and Safety Objectives:

  • Consistently apply fair and usable pay components within budget constraints under the Broadband Pay Plan.
  • Consistently apply recruitment and selection strategies to recruit and retain a highly qualified and effective workforce who are most able to meet current and future challenges.
  • Increase diverse opportunities for current and future employees and volunteers.
  • Improve and expand existing training opportunities throughout the department for new, existing, and management-level employees.
  • Enhance Early Return to Work Program and Safety Program through applicable safety training with field focused programs for all employees.

Goal: Financial Management, Technology and Administration
The Administration Branch will ensure a sound financial foundation for the agency.

Financial Objectives:

  • Increase fiscal accountability of agency programs.
  • Ensure a sound financial foundation for the agency.
  • Establish sustainable funding mechanisms for fish, wildlife, and state parks management.
  • Enhance the agency’s auditing and internal control capabilities.

Technology Objectives:

  • Continue to operate a radio communications program to ensure interoperability with state and local law enforcement entities and to heighten employee and public safety.
  • Refine the use of Mobile Computer Terminals in enforcement vehicles that deliver criminal justice information and officer location, which will enhance officer safety and effectiveness.
  • Enhance security and continuity of operations across all mission critical systems.
  • Continued effective use of the technology base budget, with emphasis on improved services, increased efficiency, and maximum return on invested resources.
  • Accomplish priority work through the use of centralized data and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), including education and outreach opportunities for FWP staff.
  • Increase efficiencies in data collection, storage, and use for FWP programs by assisting in the development of agency centralized data systems.
  • Fully engage efforts to maintain and enhance FWP's GIS-based tools available to the general public.

Licensing Objectives:

  • Evaluate existing licensing processes, products and delivery methods to ensure they remain relevant and effective in the future.
  • Develop efforts to increase revenues through the sale of all available licenses and by securing additional revenue streams.
  • Develop efforts to license non-traditional, state parks, and other recreational users.
  • Adapt the licensing platform to the changing needs of our customers.

Centralized Support Objectives:

  • Ensure an efficient, innovative, and responsive procurement process.
  • Improve fleet management through maintenance, cost analysis, enhanced software capabilities, and continual education.
  • Conduct a physical inventory of all department assets bi-annually to ensure accountability and location of all equipment.
  • Ensure adequate insurance coverage for all assets in accordance with risk exposure reporting.
  • Create visual messages that better explain FWP programs and regulations.

Goal: Public Awareness and Involvement
The Communications and Education Division will focus on programs to increase public awareness of FWP activities, understanding of FWP issues, and support for FWP efforts.

Objectives:

  • Coordinate public outreach associated with FWP’s new Vision and Guide.
  • Continue improving an information/education program with the goal of raising awareness of and minimizing impacts from aquatic invasive species, illegal introductions, and other threats.
  • Maintain and enhance expertise in human-wildlife conflict issues, especially in the area of bear-recreationist encounters.
  • Increase efforts to serve and develop the support of non-traditional constituents who also benefit from diverse and sustainable fish and wildlife populations, state parks, and outdoor recreation in Montana.
  • Engender informed public input based on complete and accurate information. Evaluate and make recommendations on ways to improve public involvement opportunities with the goal improving participation and trust in the process.
  • Improve communications and relations among landowners, recreationists, and FWP.
  • Increase awareness of conservation, especially by non-traditional users and the general public, in order to illustrate the role people play in restoring and caring for their environment.
  • Review evolving social media opportunities with the intent of capitalizing on new techniques.
  • Coordinate with IT staff the replacement of FWP’s outdated website content management system to allow improved service to the nearly four million visitors FWP’s site receives a year.

Goal: Recruitment and Retention of Hunters, Anglers, and Recreationists
FWP will focus on communications, education, and regulatory considerations to retain existing participants and introduce new users to fish, wildlife, and state park recreational opportunities.

Objectives:

  • Evaluate the use of technology and social media as recruitment and retention tools.
  • Develop a better understanding of the needs of customers to facilitate participation in hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation.
  • Expand our understanding of the interests of the public we serve and use what we learn to better meet the public’s expectations and provide relevant and meaningful opportunities and services.
  • Identify and address barriers to recruitment and retention of hunters, anglers, and other outdoor recreationists.

Fisheries Division

The Fisheries Division is responsible for the stewardship of Montana’s fisheries and aquatic resources while contributing to the quality of life for present and future generations. Operational programs are in five bureaus (Hatchery, Fisheries Management, Habitat, Special Projects, and Operations) and seven regions. Primary functions of the Division include collection and analysis of fisheries data, establishing fishing regulations, habitat conservation and management, and maintaining sound fish populations and opportunities to enjoy them.

Goal: Habitat and Management
The Fisheries Division develops and implements plans to manage, conserve, and protect fish populations and communities, and it will identify priority aquatic habitats in order to protect, restore, and secure additional funding for their conservation.

Objectives:

  • Promote access and protect habitat.
  • Maintain emphasis on aquatic habitat protection and restoration.
  • Refine information and technology used to prioritize habitats.
  • Work with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and others to correct dam-related habitat issues (e.g., fish passage, thermal pollution) in the lower Missouri and Yellowstone rivers to benefit pallid sturgeon, paddlefish, sauger, and other native fish populations.
  • Seek permanent funding authority for the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) program to prevent the introduction and spread of AIS in Montana. Increase enforcement presence at AIS check stations.
  • Develop and implement laws/rules to protect fisheries and aquatic resources from AIS and illegal introductions of fish and other aquatic organisms.
  • Implement a new administrative rule which describes actions the department will take in response to the discovery of illegally introduced fish into public waters.
  • Maintain and enhance the infrastructure and address backlog of major maintenance for our fish hatchery system. Pursue the establishment of an alternative water source at Fort Peck Hatchery.

Goal: Species of Concern
The Fisheries Division will emphasize priority species, including those affected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and develop new plans or implement existing plans and conservation strategies.

Objectives:

  • Continue habitat efforts to keep Arctic grayling off the federal Endangered Species list and continue efforts for delisting of bull trout and pallid and white sturgeon.
  • Fully engage in ESA activities, including but not limited to evaluating and addressing threats that could lead to listing, participating in ESA processes to demonstrate that species are adequately managed or recovered, and participating in legal challenges to important ESA issues.
  • Collect data on status and distribution of priority species that have been identified as species of concern, especially if little data are available.
  • Implement the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) and move forward with the implementation of priority strategies for identified species and their related habitats.

Goal: Data Assessment
The Fisheries Division will refine data collection and analysis efforts for use in internal planning and operations as well as external use, to enable the public to make informed resource and land use decisions.

Objectives:

  • Evaluate and monitor natural resource damage events like the Yellowstone oil spill and abandoned mines.
  • Develop environmental review processes for providing comments on land use proposals, including residential development, energy development, transportation development, and climate change and assess strategies for the evaluation and mitigation of the fragmentation caused by various land use activities. 
  • Refine harvest management programs to make clear and explicit links between population monitoring parameters, population objectives, social expectations, and fishing season/regulation recommendations.
  • Complete Fisheries Information System database, to include survey and inventory data, hatchery fish plants, angler pressure data, and fishing regulations.

Goal: Access to Public Waters
The Fisheries Division will work with landowners to provide access through private lands to improve opportunities to access public waters.

Objectives:

  • Enhance efforts to provide access to public waters.
  • Address recreational and social conflicts on rivers and lakes and manage to reduce conflicts.
  • Work with constituent groups and landowners to encourage angling access through private lands.
  • Maintain emphasis on providing public angler access via the Fishing Access Site and other programs.

Wildlife Division

The Wildlife Division is responsible for the conservation and management of Montana’s 600+ birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians and their habitat. Activities related to the Wildlife Division include coordination and planning, monitoring the status of wildlife and habitats, conserving and enhancing wildlife habitat, and providing opportunity for public enjoyment of wildlife through hunting, trapping, and viewing. The program manages animals legislatively categorized as big game, nongame wildlife, migratory game birds, upland game, furbearers, and threatened and endangered species.

Goal: Habitat Conservation
The Wildlife Division will identify priority habitats, including large or threatened landscapes, and work to secure additional funding for their conservation.

Objectives:

  • Identify highest priority habitats and specific parcels for conservation using GIS modeling of vegetation type, biodiversity importance, relative conservation value to specific species, migratory corridors, and other factors. Focus efforts on sagebrush-steppe, wetland-riparian, and grassland habitats to preclude ESA listing of greater sage grouse and other sensitive species.
  • Increase emphasis on maintaining and protecting highest priority habitat at a landscape level to comprehensively conserve all of Montana’s wildlife.
  • Leverage Habitat Montana with federal and non-governmental programs to better meet the mission of the department to manage all wildlife.
  • Maintain Division properties (Wildlife Management Areas) to meet the intent of the Good Neighbor Policy.
  • Work through Farm Bill policies with U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies to conserve privately owned habitat.
  • Provide direction and resources to local governments to ensure wildlife needs are addressed in planning and development. Work with local governments to influence planning (e.g., patterns and methods) of rural subdivisions in a way that minimizes impacts to wildlife communities.
  • Sustain the integrity of existing WMAs and conservation easements by conserving adjacent habitats and inholdings. 

Goal: Wildlife Management
The Wildlife Division will monitor and manage game populations to comply with management plans and objectives in a manner that is cost effective, efficient, and transparent.

Objectives:

  • Refine harvest management programs to strengthen links between population monitoring parameters, population objectives, social expectations, and hunting season recommendations; focus population management prescriptions on the general gun season.
  • Develop survey and inventory protocols for big game species to maximize sampling efficiency, consistency, and robustness. Enhance population surveys to meet management objectives via efficiency and protocol standards.
  • Evaluate furbearer program components and make necessary changes to ensure contemporary, science-based management of furbearer species.
  • Identify, prioritize, and implement research to address management needs; apply research findings to management recommendations.
  • Implement species management plans per plan goals and objectives.
  • Gather requisite information and take necessary actions to proactively mitigate risks from diseases that have unacceptable negative effects on wildlife populations.
  • Enhance distribution of elk to optimize available public land habitats.
  • Increase communication and enhance relationships with landowners.

Goal: Species of Concern
The Wildlife Division will emphasize the monitoring, management, and conservation of priority species, including those affected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and develop new plans or implement existing plans and conservation strategies.

Objectives:

  • Maintain or restore state authority to manage wildlife species in Montana by recovering ESA listed species and prevent the need to list state-managed species. Fully engage in ESA activities, including but not limited to evaluating and addressing threats that could lead to listing, participating in ESA processes to demonstrate that species are adequately managed or recovered, and participating in legal challenges to important ESA issues, such as  grizzly bear delisting.
  • Integrate game and nongame programs to manage more comprehensively; implement the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) and move forward with the implementation of priority strategies for identified species and their related habitats.
  • Collect data on status and distribution of priority species that have been identified as species of concern, especially if little data are available.
  • Continue efforts to keep greater sage grouse off the Endangered Species list and continue efforts for delisting of grizzly bears and lynx.

Goal: Hunting Access
The Wildlife Division will refine existing programs and develop new programs to secure public hunting access to private lands from willing landowners, and improve opportunities to access public lands.

Objectives:

  • Review all department access programs and develop strategies in conjunction with Private Land/Public Wildlife (PL/PW) to enhance access programs to ensure access to wildlife resources on private and public lands.
  • Evaluate and develop new access tools that incorporate changes in landownership from traditional agricultural ownership to nontraditional recreational ownership.
  • Enhance efforts to provide access to landlocked public lands.
  • Enhance efforts to mark boundaries of state lands.
  • Encourage activities that foster positive and productive relations between private landowners and the recreating public.

Goal: Wildlife Conflict
The Wildlife Division will implement measures to reduce the potential for conflict with wildlife, and will respond to wildlife conflict to protect public safety.

Objectives:

  • Develop and implement public outreach efforts to provide information to the public to help reduce wildlife conflicts that require response by staff.
  • Respond to wildlife conflicts that present a threat to human health and safety.
  • Continue to work with landowners and the public to address risks from bears, wolves, and lions, thereby increasing tolerance for their presence on the landscape, using non-lethal measures when possible and lethal measures when necessary.
  • Provide technical assistance and materials to private landowners who are experiencing game damage problems using the suite of tools available.
  • Proactively address wildlife diseases that represent a potential threat to wildlife populations, humans, or livestock.
  • Continue risk management efforts to minimize the potential for spread of brucellosis between wildlife and livestock; continue brucellosis surveillance and research efforts.

Parks Division

The Parks Division (Montana State Parks) is responsible for conserving recreational, scenic, historic, archaeological, and scientific resources of the state, and providing for their use and enjoyment. The Division manages state parks and administers recreation programs for the benefit of citizens of Montanans and their guests for current and future generations. In FY18/19, the Division will focus on building sustainable funding, strategic partnerships, and engaging constituents in a manner that is transparent and supportive of the state parks system’s most significant, relevant, and accessible sites and programs in a more businesslike manner. Objectives listed below highlight the highest of the Division’s priorities.

Goal: Service
The Parks Division will provide high quality services to state parks visitors and recreationists; provide strong and efficient program leadership to local Montana communities and agencies via education and grants programs; and provide camping, interpretive, and other recreational opportunities across Montana.

Objectives:

  • Improve service to customers through improved maintenance management across the system with specific focus on Class 1 sites. 
  • Repair and improve facilities to enhance disabled and elderly access where appropriate.
  • Work with other agencies and organizations to support integrated approaches to meeting the mission of state parks and adjacent communities as the classification policy is implemented.
  • Provide high quality customer service to all grant sponsors. Ensure clear, professional, and proactive communications occur from staff.
  • Engage and support Off Highway Vehicles (OHV), Snowmobile, and State Trails Advisory Committees to expand their use in helping to improve grants, recreational opportunities, and safety statewide.
  • Work with nonprofits as well as local and federal agency partners to improve recreational resources and management.

Goal: Stewardship
The Parks Division will promote stewardship of natural, cultural, paleontological, and recreational resources for current and future generations.

Objectives:

  • Implement plans such as the Heritage Resources Strategic plan.
  • Continue to work within the department to address encumbrances on state parks lands originally acquired through fish and wildlife resources.
  • Complete development on the first phase of the Milltown site, east of Missoula, as a day-use state park.
  • Aggressively apply best practices for control of terrestrial noxious weeds and prevent aquatic invasive species.
  • Implement the maintenance management system into capital and operations programs management to enhance long term functionality of state parks infrastructure through improved monitoring and cost management.
  • Hold field schools at three state parks over the next two years to improve knowledge and demonstrate significance of state parks, with a goal to transferring that knowledge to Montana’s youth through outdoor and cultural education programs.
  • Work collaboratively to improve processes and procedures for effectively administering various grant programs.
  • Implement the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan.
  • Provide advice and planning support to communities, tribes, agencies, and nonprofits that are providing recreational opportunities throughout Montana.

Goal: Sustainability
The Parks Division will strive to enhance the long-term sustainability of the state parks system and recreational resources in a manner that promotes long term resource conservation fiscally and operationally.

Objectives:

  • Consistent with the state parks strategic plan, secure long-term funding and staffing to sustain the state parks system’s new and existing areas to meet the four state standards.
  • Finalize implementation of the “Store Manager” program for enhanced cash handling and tracking programs through staff training and support.
  • Implement a new campsite reservation system contract in cooperation with Idaho State Parks while continuing to market and brand the Montana state parks system.
  • Monitor and maintain all funding sources, especially the vehicle registration funding system, to assure consistent funding; work with county treasurers and others to improve communication about the program.
  • Effectively implement the expanded AmeriCorps program as part of integrating state parks into communities, increasing volunteerism, and expanding local significance and special events.
  • Expand opportunities for jobs in state parks through additional concession opportunities and private equity investment while expanding services for visitors.
  • Continue to provide a positive impact to Montana’s general economy and tourism-based industries by completing an economic impact survey.
  • Work with communities to help reinforce awareness and understanding of recreation, including small program needs (e.g., ball fields, swimming pools), to help address health and quality of life issues throughout Montana.
  • Explore and help build partnerships to expand recreational opportunities and management where there is a need and local support, by expanding permit sales to federal agency offices and interested private businesses.

Goal: Safety
The Parks Division will provide a safe environment for employees to innovate, explore, and improve the state parks system and programs overall, while also improving public safety and reduced exposure to liability by improving management practices, critical incident responses, hazard reductions, and improving visitor experiences.

Objectives:

  • Openly discuss issues of diversity and safety with staff to enhance innovation, inclusiveness, and acceptance for views and approaches.
  • Enhance and integrate safety and service by continuing to improve the public safety program while providing an integrated, preventative enforcement presence that supports customer service and return visitation.
  • Address forestry issues such as diseased or hazard trees in state parks as well as reducing potential fire danger in areas that may threaten adjacent lands.
  • Continue to investigate workplace accidents and minimize claims as a means of providing a safe workplace and managing risk exposure overall.
  • Repair failed septic and water systems.
  • Continue to expand the use of the OHV safety simulator through volunteers to help further promote safe and ethical use of OHVs and snowmobiles.
  • Enhance safety and ethics training for motorized and non-motorized users, especially in the OHV and snowmobile programs, to reduce conflict, promote compatibility, and improve resource stewardship using programs such as Leave No Trace and Tread Lightly.
  • Integrate and enhance recreation program management with Division field staff involvement outside of state parks boundaries to help clubs, user groups, counties, communities, and federal agency partners in administering safe programs.

Law Enforcement Division

The Law Enforcement Division ensures compliance and enforces all Montana fish, wildlife, and state parks and recreation laws; department, commission, and board rules; and regulations. Division personnel enforce state boating, water safety, snowmobile, and off road vehicle rules and regulations, as well as private property laws and regulations as they relate to public recreation. The Division’s efforts are inextricably woven into working with hunters, anglers, state parks users, the general public, private landowners, and state and federal resource agencies in order to optimize access and recreational opportunities, address the needs of private landowners who allow public recreational access, and promote appropriate recreational ethics. In addition, division staff engages in commercial permitting and numerous duties such as tagging and trophying wildlife, hunter education, recreational access initiatives, and responding to urban wildlife and human-wildlife conflict incidents.

Goal: Resource Protection and Enhancement
The Enforcement Division will ensure regulation compliance and public safety as essential components of resource management.

Wildlife Objectives:

  • Enforce wildlife laws and regulations; maintain a visible presence of law enforcement.
  • Emphasize working with landowners on landowner-agency relationships, public access, and game management principles.
  • Through efforts by both uniformed wardens and the Criminal Investigations Section, continue focused efforts to identify and deter large-scale trophy poaching and illicit commercialization of Montana’s wildlife resources.
  • Provide support to the Attorney General’s office for the prosecution of cases resulting from investigations.
  • Enact and continue regulation compliance that focuses on improving landowner relations and wildlife population protection by responding to landowner issues in a timely fashion.
  • Work with the Board of Outfitters and other agencies to reduce the practice of unlicensed outfitting and the resulting resource damage these activities cause.
  • Respond in a timely and legal fashion to landowner complaints of wildlife damage to property.
  • Provide a law enforcement presence, particularly during high use times, at Wildlife Management Areas and other department properties.

Fisheries Objectives:

  • Enforce fishing laws and regulations and increase visibility of enforcement during high-use periods.
  • Emphasize practical regulation simplification for ease of understanding and compliance by anglers.
  • Develop and implement strategies to deter, detect, and investigate illegal introductions of fish species into public and private waters and develop specialized techniques to enhance compliance.
  • Support Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) detection and compliance activities through an enforcement presence at AIS check stations and follow-up investigations and citations.
  • Maintain enforcement response, patrol, and administrative services to Fishing Access Site program (FAS) sites to address fee compliance, site vandalism, river recreation issues, and other user conflicts.

Water Safety, Snowmobile, and Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) Enforcement and Education Objectives:

  • Maintain a visible field presence on waterways and in areas where motorized recreation occurs.
  • Acquire and maintain the highest level of training in the use of equipment as well as individual public safety skills (e.g., cold water rescue, search and rescue)
  • Participate in water, snowmobile, and OHV education and safety presentations.
  • Strive for an acceptable level of compliance of water safety, OHV, and snowmobile rules and laws.
  • Investigate and assist in the prosecution of resource damage by illegal OHV and snowmobile use. 

Parks and Recreation Objectices:

  • Remain an integral component of the operation of state parks and general recreational activities on department owned and/or managed properties throughout the state.
  • Continue to work with the Parks Division to develop and maintain an acceptable level of compliance of state parks rules and regulations.
  • Maintain and provide an enforcement presence in state parks to support non-enforcement staff.
  • Develop, foster, and maintain positive working relationships with state parks staff.
  • Continue to respond to unlawful activities such as vandalism and resource abuse in state parks and other department owned and/or managed properties.

Goal: Recruitment and Retention of Enforcement Personnel
The Enforcement Division will recruit, select, train, and retain a dedicated, competent staff, while always maintaining current training and skills competencies.

Objectives:

  • Include implementation of the Vision and Guide in the career development program for all enforcement personnel.
  • Continue requiring the highest academic and personal standards for qualification to serve as a Montana game warden.
  • Maintain a rigorous selection system to ensure staffing needs are filled by the best qualified and most competent personnel.
  • Maintain the Field Training Office program as a means of assimilating new employees into the ranks of the division with the highest level of professionalism, preparedness, and knowledge of agency values and the criminal justice system.
  • Encourage and support advanced training in both law enforcement and managerial skills requisite to the work of wardens and career advancement.
  • Work with POST, FWP Legal staff, and other law enforcement standards organizations to ensure wardens are current and compliant with the legal requirements of their jobs.
  • Continue to work on a pay progression model incorporating competitive salary ranges.

Goal: Encourage and Maintain Good Landowner-Sportsman Relations
The Enforcement Division personnel will encourage activities that foster positive and productive relations between private landowners and the recreating public.

Objectives:

  • Remain actively involved in season setting processes to provide insight and input, to better enable reasonable, clear, and enforceable regulations.
  • Continue working toward practical regulation simplification for ease of understanding and compliance by anglers, hunters, and trappers.
  • Maintain landowner contacts as a priority activity of game wardens.
  • Maintain involvement and efforts in Block Management, Unlocking State Lands, and other initiatives to broaden hunter access opportunities.
  • Maintain efforts to clarify and improve regulations for disabled hunters and those holding permits to hunt from a vehicle.
  • Regularly participate in meetings and presentations to varied audiences, in order to underscore basic tenets of landowner-sportsman relations.
  • Emphasize hunter ethics and the importance of fair chase, respect for private property, and compliance with resource laws and regulations. 
  • Work in cooperation with the Communication and Education Division to help reduce landowner concerns about hunter behavior and ethics.
  • Act as advocates on behalf of recreational access by participating in activities that will both provide access and resolve use issues.