as of May 10, 2007)
For any collaborative
process to operate smoothly, it is helpful for those involved to
agree at the outset on the purpose for the process and on the procedures
by which the group will govern its discussions, deliberations, and
In late 2006,
the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) initiated
a process to develop a statewide wolf conservation and management
plan. The goal of the plan is to establish the framework and process
for wolf recovery, state delisting, and management of wolves if
they are delisted in Washington from the Federal Endangered Species
Act. The Director of WDFW created the Wolf Working Group (Working
Group) to guide the Department in developing a plan for gray wolves,
which are expected to make their way to Washington from growing
populations in neighboring states and Canada. Eighteen citizens
have been selected as members the Working Group. The Working Group
will develop recommendations for the Department to consider as
the first draft Wolf Conservation and Management Plan is developed.
All Working Group products will be conveyed to the Department;
however, this does not mean that all recommendations will necessarily
be incorporated in the draft or final Wolf Conservation and Management
Plan. Ten of the working group members are from eastern Washington,
and eight are from the west side of the state. They represent
livestock ranching and agriculture, local government, conservation
groups, biologists, the timber industry, hunters and other outdoor
Represented. Working Group members represent interests that
would be substantially affected by the development and implementation
of a wolf conservation and management plan. The members were chosen
because of the variety of their interests, experience with wolf
or related natural resource issues, and willingness to work together
in a collaborative, consensus process. In order to foster creative
problem solving, members are encouraged to voice their individual
viewpoints and ideas. In order to broaden and strengthen the chances
of success for the anticipated final consensus recommendations,
members are expected to bring the perspectives of their constituent
groups, as well as others with similar interests, to the Wolf
Working Group process.
at Meetings. Members are expected to make a good faith effort
to attend all full meetings. It is expected that the group will
only meet six times prior to release of a draft conservation and
management plan. As such, if a member misses two meetings (unless
unforeseen circumstances arise) they will no longer be considered
an active Working Group member and will not be asked to participate
in future meetings.
If a member
cannot attend, he or she may designate an individual to attend
in their place to represent their interests (an alternate). The
alternate should be knowledgeable about wolf issues and the topics
to be discussed at the meeting. The alternate’s primary
responsibility is to inform the member about the deliberations
at the conclusion of the meeting; the alternate does not have
decision-making authority. It is the responsibility of the member
to prepare the alternate for the meeting by sharing background
information and an overview of the deliberations leading up to
the meeting. Sending an alternate does not substitute for meeting
will strive to provide the name and background of the alternate
as soon as possible, and no later than five days, in advance of
the meeting. All individuals attending for members are bound by
these Operating Principles. The facilitator will work with alternates
to assist as needed in making their participation as constructive
from the Working Group. Any member may withdraw from the Working
Group at any time without prejudice. Communication about the reasons
for withdrawing, if related to the Working Group process, would
be appreciated. Good faith provisions apply to those who withdraw.
to replace a member will depend on factors such as how far along
the group is in the process, whether addition of a new member
would be disruptive, and whether the loss of the interests represented
by the withdrawing member creates a serious imbalance on the Working
Group in terms of expertise and/or interests. Authority for decisions
about replacing members rests with the WDFW Director.
Group Members. The members are working together to achieve
a mutually acceptable outcome that satisfies, to the greatest
degree possible, the interests of all participants. In order for
a wolf conservation and management plan to be acceptable and implementable,
those involved in developing the plan agree to work together to
produce recommendations that integrate the mandates, concerns,
and ideas of all those significantly affected by the plan. All
Working Group members agree to:
meetings and follow through on promises and commitments;
- Bring concerns
from their interest group or organization up for discussion
at the earliest point in the process;
- Share all
relevant information that will assist the group in achieving
- Keep its
organization’s decision-makers informed of potential decisions
and actions, in order to expedite approval for the final product;
the eventual product if they have concurred in it; and
in decisions about the Working Group process, including overseeing
the implementation of the operating principles.
Department of Fish and Wildlife. Working Group members recognize
that under the WDFW statutes and regulations, final decision-making
authority to develop a Wolf Conservation and Management Plan rests
in the hands of the Department. The Department is committed to
developing a plan that has achieved concurrence and support from
the range of stakeholders, to the extent possible. The Department
may amend the draft plan before approving it.
WDFW Staff. The Working Group will have assistance from WDFW staff who will
attend all meetings to serve as wildlife experts. While WDFW staff
may sit at the table and participate in the Working Group deliberations
as needed, they are not Working Group members. Harriet Allen,
Endangered and Threatened Species Section Manager; Steve Pozzanghera,
Deputy Assistant Director, Wildlife Program; Rocky Beach, Wildlife
Diversity Division Manager; Donny Martorello, Carnivore Specialist
Section Manager; Jerry Nelson, Statewide Manager Deer and Elk;
and Madonna Luers, Public Information Officer; will serve as staff
to the Working Group. Other WDFW staff will assist as necessary.
Legal questions that need to be addressed by the State will go
through WDFW staff.
Advisors. The WDFW will use a small group of five to six technical
advisors to provide information and expertise to the Working Group
members. These technical experts may be consulted in person, in
writing, or via conference call to answer questions about the
latest wolf research and management; and they will be asked to
participate in a peer review of the plan. Other scientific and
technical input will be provided on an “as-needed”
basis as agreed upon by the Working Group and WDFW.
Facilitator. Working Group meetings will be facilitated by RESOLVE. The
facilitator will not take positions on the issues before the Working
Group. The facilitator will work to ensure that the process runs
smoothly. The facilitator’s role usually includes developing
draft agendas, distributing meeting materials, facilitating meetings,
working to resolve any impasse that may arise, preparing meeting
summaries, and other tasks as requested. The facilitator will
keep confidential information disclosed in confidence. The facilitator
will serve at the will of the Working Group and may be replaced
as agreed upon by the members in consultation with WDFW.
Sub-Groups. As necessary, the Working Group may choose to form sub-groups.
The Working Group will designate sub-group members as needed for
the anticipated tasks and outcomes. At the direction of the Working
Group, sub-group members may develop draft products and make recommendations
to the Working Group. Sub-groups will not make decisions on behalf
of the Working Group. Any Working Group member can be a member
of a sub-group.
the Public. All Working Group meetings will be open to the
public. However, the WDFW expects that the range of public perspectives
will be included in the Working Group process primarily through
the involvement of the 18 Working Group members. As such, there
will only be a 15 minute period for public comment at the end
of each Working Group meeting. Members of the public are encouraged
to submit written comments (forms will be provided at each meeting)
on the work of the Working Group which will then be distributed
to all members for consideration.
Agendas. Proposed meeting agendas will be drafted by the facilitator in
consultation with Working Group members, circulated in advance
of meetings, and approved or revised at the beginning of each
Item Memos. In order to assist the Working Group in documenting
its progress and activities, within five days of each meeting
RESOLVE will prepare and distribute an action items memo. These
memos will convey major decisions and ensure that timelines for
completing agreed upon actions are clear to all participants.
These will be distributed to WDFW staff and all Working Group
members for review prior to public distribution.
and Caucuses. Meetings may be suspended at any time at the
request of any member to allow consultation among Working Group
members. Requests should be respectful of all members’ time.
If the use of caucuses becomes disruptive, the Working Group will
revisit the process.
Consensus. The Working Group will strive to operate by consensus. Consensus
is defined as all Working Group members can live with the recommendation
or decision. All recommendations and materials will be reviewed
and discussed by the Working Group before being forwarded to the
Department for their consideration.
Making. Decisions will be made by consensus of those Working
Group members present at a meeting, except for concurrence on
major products, where consensus will be sought from all Working
Group members. Major products include any final recommendations
regarding the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. If the members
present at a meeting reach consensus on a major product, the facilitator
will convey the results to those absent from the meeting and assess
their ability to agree. Full consensus will not be achieved until
all members have confirmed agreement.
of Consensus. If full consensus cannot be reached the Working
Group may choose to either articulate areas of agreement and disagreement
and the reasons why differences continue to exist, or communicate
separate sets of recommendations (i.e., majority and minority
If the Working
Group chooses to articulate areas of agreement and disagreement,
members representing the different perspectives on specific issues
will be asked to prepare language reflecting their views. The
language should clearly identify the issues and information needs
and uncertainties. In addition, those members that support each
perspective will be identified.
sets of recommendations (i.e., majority and minority reports)
are conveyed to the Department, members representing the minority
point of view will be asked to prepare a communication reflecting
Good Faith. All members agree to act in good faith in all aspects of the collaborative
effort. As such, members will consider the input and viewpoint
of other participants and conduct themselves in a manner that
promotes joint problem solving and collaboration.
good faith also requires that specific proposals made in open
and frank problem solving conversations not be used against any
other member in the future; personal attacks and prejudiced statements
are not acceptable; negative generalizations are not productive
and have the potential to impede the ability of the Working Group
to reach consensus; individuals not represent their personal or
organization’s views as views of the Working Group, and
that they express consistent views and opinions in the Working
Group and in other forums, including in press contacts.
Should a Working
Group member be found to be acting in bad faith the facilitator
will be asked to talk with the individual(s) about the situation.
A variety of approaches will be explored, accordingly, to redress
the concerns. The authority to replace and/or remove a member
from the Working Group rests with the WDFW Director.
in Other Forums. Participation in the Working Group process
does not limit the rights of any member. Members will make a good
faith effort to notify one another in advance, if another action
outside the process will be initiated or pursued, which will affect
the terms of proposals, recommendations, or agreements being discussed.
Press. All Working Group members agree to refrain from making negative
comments about or characterizing the views of other Working Group
members in contacts with the press. They also agree not to knowingly
mischaracterize the positions and views of any other party, nor
their own, in public forums.
members agree to consider and apply the following process suggestions
and ground rules:
- Seek to
learn and understand each other’s perspective.
respectful, candid, and constructive discussions.
balance of speaking time.
- Seek to
resolve differences and reach consensus.
- As appropriate,
discuss topics together rather than in isolation.
- Make every
effort to avoid surprises.
- Limit sidebars.
- Turn off
cell phones or put them in the non-ring mode during formal meeting
its initial recommendations, the Working Group will meet six times,
approximately every other month, beginning in late February 2007
and ending in December 2007. Exact dates will be determined by
WDFW in consultation with working group members. WDFW staff will
also be holding public scoping meetings during preparation of
the draft plan. The Department is scheduled to complete its initial
draft Wolf Conservation and Management Plan by December 31, 2007.
The initial draft will then be peer reviewed and comments received
will be addressed by WDFW as appropriate and proposed plan revisions
will be shared with the Working Group. Upon completion of the
draft plan, WDFW will release the plan for a 90-day public review
Group will meet once more in the spring of 2008 to consider the
results of the public review process and determine whether additional
recommendations are needed. Final approval of a Wolf Conservation
and Management Plan, by the Department, is expected by June 30,