In 2016, FWP created a Vision and Guide to help direct the agency for the next 10 years. The guiding document is the result of an initiative — called ’15 and Forward — that helped identify what we should do over the decade in order to best address changing expectations and new challenges.
The Vision and Guide is the result of input gathered at public listening sessions and the direction of an employee-led advisory team. It calls on FWP to tackle challenges — such as the need for more recreational access, habitat loss and degradation, funding that does not match growing demands and costs, a state parks program that is not meeting its potential, and rapidly-evolving technology.
It directs the department to maintain its strong commitment to hunting, fishing, trapping, state park visitation, and other outdoor recreation as key components to Montana’s culture and conservation ethic. FWP’s future also includes broadening services and communications to reach more outdoor enthusiasts and supporters, and to seek ways to ensure the agency remains relevant and sufficiently funded.
The Vision and Guide makes a strong commitment to the department’s employees because an effective and well-trained work force ensures that the public’s resources are managed well.
The next step is to put the vision to work.
Some efforts that are already underway include:
Bottom line, FWP must continue to improve the work we do to best support our fish, wildlife, state parks, and your experiences with Montana’s outdoors.
“It has been nearly 20 years since FWP last took a department-wide look at planning for the future and established its current Vision for the 21st Century. It is time to update that vision and set program goals and design services that reflect our current context and best meet public needs.”
— Jeff Hagener, FWP Director
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks launched an initiative called ’15 & Forward (15+F) that updated the agency vision and goals for the next 10+ years. This direction for the future is the foundation on which the agency establishes priorities, programs and services.
To help better understand today’s values, priorities and expectations related to the resources and opportunities FWP manages, 10 public and 8 FWP staff “listening sessions” were held across the state between July 10 and August 13, 2015. There was also an online comment opportunity.
Participants were asked what they thought FWP did well, did poorly, and should be doing in the future. They also were asked for their opinion of various components of FWP's existing vision document, which is nearly 20 years old.
306 people attended the public sessions and FWP also received 211 comments online.
What We Heard
As part of the listening sessions, participants responded to a series of questions by using a hand-held “clicker” to answer questions shown on a screen in front of the room. Check out how people answered these questions:
Listening session participants also broke out into small groups and had discussions, prompted by questions that the group was asked to respond to. Facilitators recorded these conversations on flip charts. To see an overview of the common themes and ideas from these discussions, check out this short summary:
As FWP’s new director — the 24th over the department’s 116-year history — I want to thank outgoing director Jeff Hagener for his commitment to Montana’s fish, wildlife, parks, and recreational resources and for handing the baton to me to build from his legacy. I also want to let Montanans know a bit about me and where I envision FWP going during the next four years.
I worked as an attorney for this department from 1998 to 2011, helping FWP fight for wolf delisting, protect stream access, and conserve habitat. During my 13 years here, I also learned the importance of securing access to public lands, how private property provides essential wildlife habitat, and how climate change threatens our valuable trout fisheries. After leaving FWP, I went to the Department of the Interior to work on parks, conservation, river, and wildlife issues. I then returned to Montana to teach natural resources and wildlife law at the University of Montana.
I hunt, I fish, and I enjoy camping and hiking in Montana’s wonderfully diverse state parks, among other outdoor activities.
A reasonable question by anyone who cares about FWP is whether I plan to continue the course set by Jeff during his 12 years as director. I do. I’m committed to our fish, wildlife, parks, and recreational resources and heritage. I’ll continue Jeff’s work to strengthen department relations with stockgrowers, farmers, and other landowners; delist the grizzly bear; open more public lands to hunting and other recreation; strengthen the financial health of our state parks system; and broaden our fish and wildlife funding base while serving a more diverse group of outdoor recreationists.
Right away, my top priority will be to unify the agency around the FWP vision document.
That 22-page document was created over the past two years by FWP staff who drew upon ideas, concerns, and suggestions from employees and the public across the state. It sets a course for this agency over the next decade and makes clear FWP’s core values, such as embracing the public trust, respecting property rights, and using science. The vision document also commits the department to improving public service, accomplishing more through partnerships, and increasing opportunities for outdoor recreation, to name just a few goals.
In this fast-changing world, we as an agency need to adapt and adjust to remain relevant. Hunters and anglers continue to ask for more and better information, access, and opportunities. Public
interest in nongame wildlife management and wildlife watching recreation continues to grow. Visits to state parks have doubled in the last few years, while revenue to manage and maintain those treasured sites has flatlined. Rapidly developing technologies such as smartphone apps create new opportunities for serving our various publics. And that’s just for starters.
In responding to these and other challenges outlined in the FWP vision document, this department needs unity to become stronger, more responsive, and more creative. We also need to work more collaboratively with communities, businesses, interest groups, and other agencies. And all the while we must be inclusive, transparent, and fair.
The world we live in has never been so interconnected. Consider the recent discovery of invasive mussels in Montana. The invasive species threatens agriculture and fishing industries, outdoor recreation, and aquatic ecosystems. Responding to the threat has
required all concerned parties to come together and agree on appropriate responses for containment and control. Despite FWP’s proven expertise in managing aquatic invasive species, this is not an issue we can tackle alone. That’s also true with so many issues we face.
As FWP’s new director, I’ll try some new approaches to solving problems. But I’ll be sure that the department’s long-held priorities and values stay the same. I’ve been with FWP before and have worked for years on the issues challenging the agency. I’m surrounded by smart and capable men and women from all divisions of the department. With their advice and support, I’ll do everything in my power to ensure that FWP continues to manage the state’s fish, wildlife, and parks responsibly and sustainably so that they remain central to the Montana experience we all value.
— Martha Williams, Director, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
The Director's Office provides overall department direction regarding policy, planning, program development, guidelines, and budgets. The Director's Office acts as the liaison with the Governor's Office, with the Legislature, with the Fish & Wildlife Commission and Parks Board, with Montana's indian tribes, and with federal agencies. It is made up of the director’s office, the legal unit, and responsive management.
The Wildlife Division is responsible for protecting, enhancing, and regulating the wise use of the state's wildlife resources for public benefit now and in the future. Wildlife Division programs provide management of:
The Fisheries Division is responsible for the management and perpetuation of Montana's fish and other aquatic resources. Montanans and visiting anglers want optimum fish populations in Montana waters and diverse, quality angling opportunities. These opportunities are being provided through:
FWP’s Enforcement Division carries out the laws, hunting regulations, and Montana State Parks rules that protect Montana’s outdoors. Game wardens have peace officer status in the State of Montana and work closely with other local, state, and federal law enforcement groups. Direct contact with visitors and recreational users is the primary method used to encourage compliance. The Enforcement Division is responsible for:
Communications & Education Division
The Communications and Education Division is the information and education arm of FWP. The division acts as a clearinghouse for information on FWP activities; is a contact point for people requesting information about FWP business, including state and national media; and publishes FWP's official magazine Montana Outdoors. Several educational and recreation-safety programs are administered from this division, including:
The Parks Division’s objective is to provide diverse recreational opportunities while preserving important historical and cultural resources within Montana. The division is responsible for the development, maintenance, and operation of all:
The Parks Division consists of:
Human Resources operates as a centralized function by providing consistent, quality direction to the divisions and regions throughout the agency for:
Design and Construction
The mission of the Design & Construction Section is to serve and assist all FWP divisions and the citizens of the State of Montana in the design and construction of quality facilities, repair and maintenance of existing facilities, and planning for their governmental, biological and recreational facility needs.
The FWP Lands Unit provides statewide real estate and land conservation services for the Department, negotiates conservation easements, and secures rights-of-way to provide public access to Montana’s federal and state lands. Additional key components are conservation easement stewardship, administration of lease and property tax payment programs, management of real estate records, and the production of maps, database reports and other information on FWP land interests.
Responsive Management (jointly with the Chief of Staff)
The Responsive Management Unit is an internal, service-oriented support team. Under the supervision of the Chief of Staff and the Chief of Operations, the unit assists the director’s office, the divisions, the regions, and other work units by coordinating the Human Dimensions, Strategic Planning, Environmental Review, and Land Use Planning functions within the department.
Regional Office Supervisors
The Regional Office Supervisors are line officers that are the director's representatives in each administrative region. As such, the supervisors are the chief administrative officers for that region. The supervisors are responsible for the daily activities of all regional personnel with the goal of assuring the proper implementation of department programs. This responsibility includes authority for recommending to the director hiring and firing of personnel; direct supervision of work schedules; evaluation of regional fisheries, wildlife, enforcement, communication and education, and administrative personnel; coordination of work schedules; and monitoring and controlling assigned budgets. The supervisors are responsible for developing and maintaining an effective network of communication between the director's office, regional personnel, other state and federal agencies, and the general public.
The Chief of Administration manages the adminstrative branch of the department. This branch is responsible for providing consistent, quality direction to the divisions and regions throughout the agency. Unlike the other divisions, they are a centralized function providing services for:
Contact Administrative Staff