ADF&G and Habitat Division
I was sent the following email today which expresses concerns about how the transfer of habitat personnel and responsibilities from DNR to ADF&G is taking place. I do not know the situation so am posting this for comment to clearify the issue or provide informaiton on the status of this action. With Pebble Mine and growing ubanization I would hope ADF&G becomes a strong advocate for habitat - in any event - does any one have a comment on this information.
Subject: OHMP take over of ADF&G permitting
Based on my conversations with several people in both ADF&G and the interested public, several concerns regarding the integration of the ADNR OHMP staff and ADF&G habitat biologists in Sport Fish Region have been raised;
- <LI class=MsoNormal style="mso-list: l1 level1 lfo3">Everyone is concerned that the new ADF&G Habitat division will be managed by the same people appointed by the Murkowski Administration to dismantle Habitat Division in 2003. <LI class=MsoNormal style="mso-list: l1 level1 lfo3">There isnít going to be any independent review of the OHMP permitting procedures or policies by ADF&G. The OHMP management is being allowed to impose ADNR policies and procedures on ADF&G. Biologists in and out of ADF&G have expressed concerns about the technical adequacy of OHMP permits, that the wording of OHMP permits may make them unenforceable, and that there has been no enforcement of permit violations at OHMP. One biologist told me that OHMP leadership said that to enforce the FWA or AFA for a violation, material damage had to be proved. This isnít correct. <LI class=MsoNormal style="mso-list: l1 level1 lfo3">There doesnít seem to be any active involvement by the ADF&Gís Commissioner Office or Division Directors in the integration of the existing OHMP and ADF&G permitting programs. OHMP managers seem to be given a free hand to make what ever personnel and policy changes at ADF&G they see fit.
- A number of people are concerned about OHMPís plans to move Refuge, Critical Habitat, and Sanctuaries Management, planning and permitting to the area offices created by OHMP. The concern is that ADNR/OHMP policies and philosophy will undermine protection for refuges critical habitat areas and sanctuaries. Most everyone feels that legacy decisions regarding Special Areas should be made at higher levels within the Department.
More alphabet soup... OHMP?
OHMP... which bureaucracy would that be?
"Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone."
The KeenEye MD
Francis, OHMP is the new Office of Habitat Management Permitting that was put under DNR umbrella by Murkowski's executive order.
Nerka, I can check into some of this. I had already heard that there would be no ADFG review of OHMP permitting procedures and policy decisions after Habitat is returned to ADFG. I would have thought though that the Commissioner would have been a part of directing the shift of Habitat back to ADFG, and what staff went where etc. Will send off a couple notes and let you know what I find out.
Update on Habitat Division move
I meant to post this last week but got sidetracked. This should fill you all in on things:
From: Lloyd, Denby S (DFG)
Sent: Thursday, April 24, 2008 3:57 PM
To: DFG.All.Staff; DNR OHMP
Subject: Update on the Habitat Move
I wanted to provide you all an update regarding the move of Habitat Division (OHMP-DNR) back to ADF&G:
1.) The main organizational components of the new Habitat Division have been formulated. The structure includes 3 new Regional Supervisor positions: in Juneau, Anchorage, and Fairbanks. These positions will be posted on Workplace Alaska this week and all qualified ADF&G and OHMP staff are encouraged to apply. Kerry Howard, Al Ott, and Charlie Swanton will be the hiring team for these regional supervisor slots.
2.) While the new Regional Supervisors are learning their jobs, the other 4 existing OHMP Area Offices (Palmer, Soldotna, Petersburg, and Prince of Wales) will continue to report to the OHMP Operations Manager (who will be reclassified to an ADF&G Deputy Director). Eventually these Area Managers will report to their geographic regional supervisors, as is the model elsewhere within ADF&G.
3.) Although Executive Order 114 doesn't go into effect until July 1st, the OHMP Anchorage office will physically move to Raspberry Road on May 23rd. Plans are also underway to move the Juneau OHMP offices to Douglas and Headquarters offices of ADF&G. Thanks to all Divisions for their assistance and cooperation in finding space for ADF&G's new employees.
4.) Seven Sport Fish Region V permitting staff will be joining the new Habitat Division. Over the last 4 years, these staff have made great progress in enhancing the management of legislatively-designated Special Areas. I would like to see that enhancement continue when Habitat assumes the special area duties. For the first time, Habitat will have two staff dedicated to Special Area planning and I've requested that the Divisions of Habitat and Wildlife Conservation staff work closely together to ensure coordinated management of these areas. Special area permitting will be done by Habitat biologists, by geographic area, which is how the former Habitat Division historically operated at ADF&G.
Now that the organizational and logistical aspects of the Habitat move are in play, it is time to focus upon developing a vision, mission statement, core services, and guiding principles on how the reconstituted Habitat Division will best help the department provide opportunities for resource development while conserving Alaska's fish and wildlife.
As I have said before, I am excited to have Habitat return to ADF&G. I thank all of you for your continued assistance. And, I want to share my appreciation of Kerry Howard, Ken Taylor, and Tom Brookover for their efforts and forbearance; they've been working hard to make this transition smooth and effective.
If you have questions or concerns about the move, please feel free to contact Kerry, Ken, or Tom.
Denby S. Lloyd
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
P.O. Box 115526
Juneau, AK 99811-5526
Do you know if any money was reallocated to them to make the transition, or if it was enough. I don't trust individual departments to voluntarily give up their piece of pie or dollars.
Not sure about any monies reallocated. I'd assume that with the new staff positions mentioned they had to get more funding from somewhere.
bushrat, thanks for your informative efforts.