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Thread: Science or sciency policy at AKDF&G

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Default Science or sciency policy at AKDF&G

    Very interesting read on the current AKDF&G situation as well as the past history of how the Department functioned within the realm of politics vs science.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Ray View Post
    Very interesting read on the current AKDF&G situation as well as the past history of how the Department functioned within the realm of politics vs science.
    While at UAF, EVERY hardcore biology student that intended to go into "fish & game management" I met was of the unshaved pits, round glasses, wool pants/shirts variety. It has always been about saving the animals from the bad, bad humans.
    Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. Albert Einstein

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    Ray, I was just gonna post this too, thanks.

    There is much in there I agree with Medred on. One of the key things he didn't hit on in talking about how our system was set up initially, is that it was recommended to our AK constitutional convention that any board(s) of fish and game be of a bipartisan nature to avoid partisan politics having an overwhelming role.

    That didn't come to be.

    And that is our largest problem imo, no matter which side of the aisle one is on or how one feels our fish and game should be managed.

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitroman View Post
    While at UAF, EVERY hardcore biology student that intended to go into "fish & game management" I met was of the unshaved pits, round glasses, wool pants/shirts variety. It has always been about saving the animals from the bad, bad humans.

    While I was at UAF every hard core biology student that I knew personally intended to go into fish and game management so that they could poach the best spots while doing "research". However, our group was very unsuccessful in reaching our goals even with several of us getting summer technician jobs. I think that the summer tech jobs were a weeding out process so that managment could determine who the huggers were since none of the thumpers were ever hired for more than summer positions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitroman View Post
    While at UAF, EVERY hardcore biology student that intended to go into "fish & game management" I met was of the unshaved pits, round glasses, wool pants/shirts variety. It has always been about saving the animals from the bad, bad humans.
    Baloney - I have dealt with new recruits as well as Current and past F&G personnel that do not meet such a trumped up view by any stretch. I have seen them not come forward, stand for solid science and speak their minds for fear of losing their retirement under the current hierarchy. I know their names and what took place - I know what they 'look' like and such, apparently meant to be negative, characterizing is nothing but inflammatory, IMO.

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Ray and Nitro, I have to respectfully call Bravo Sierra on that generalization too. Have been talking and dealing with biologists across the state for a while now and most all of them are hunters. Some trap as well.

    Can't say as I know but two UAF biology majors currently, who intend to go into F&G, they are both hunters and one of them posts on this forum.

    Just don't think that generalization holds true up here. Certainly have not seen management prefer to hire "huggers" over hunters either. Many of the former bios who speak out now on some of these things are hunters. They just aren't viewed that way because of the positions they take to put science ahead of politics.

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    Cora Campbell has been chosen by Parnell;
    http://www.adn.com/2010/12/22/161652...l-to-head.html

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    LMAO, Just got an e-mail from Medred and he says Cora e-mailed him this morning and took issue with every sentence he wrote for the article. She is going to have to have a lot stronger skin for the next four years if that is the case.
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    I've got to disagree with the generalization about ADF&G biologists being bunny huggers. I can think of two people that post here on this forum that are hunters, trappers, and fisherman, and they got their degrees right beside me at UAS. The Environmental Science and the Outdoor studies majors fit your descript fairly well.
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    Ray I have to respectfully call Bravo Sierra on that generalization too.
    There should be a font for tounge in cheek over generalizations. I was poking fun at Nitro and his super sillious statement by making my own counter super sillious statement.

    All the grad students teaching our labs hunted, and most of the professors mentioned hunting in lecture. Except the plant guy. I don't think he ever pulled his head out of the leaves to see if there was something else around him. Besides if you shot the bunnies in his birch study plots you would alter his data about birch survival during periods of high bunny population.

    The two guys that spent all their school summers being paid to fish, I mean research, by ADF&G did not go into the business when they had the opportunity. One is now a PhD Downunder working on a cure for cancer in a huge R&D outfit. The other, the last I heard of him, was tending bar back in Sitka.

    One of the group who spent way too much time in the lab is the only one that followed through and ended up in Juneau working on her masters while at F&G. She was doing a genetics study of cutthroat trout in SE. She was flown in and then fished most the day collecting scales and tissue samples and then flown out. She did not finish her masters and ended up quitting F&G over just the stuff that is written about in the article.

    The new commissioner at the time (mid 1990's) thought she was "hot" (which she is - Texas German blond) and since she was hot and got also stuff done she was assigned to be his personal secretary. She used some salty language to tell them what they can do with the job reassignement and quit. No one at F&G cared that the agency had already invested over $10,000 in the study she was doing. They just wanted the hotty in the front office. Eventually she left the state and I lost touch with her.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    Ray and Nitro, I have to respectfully call Bravo Sierra on that generalization too. Have been talking and dealing with biologists across the state for a while now and most all of them are hunters. Some trap as well.

    Can't say as I know but two UAF biology majors currently, who intend to go into F&G, they are both hunters and one of them posts on this forum.

    Just don't think that generalization holds true up here. Certainly have not seen management prefer to hire "huggers" over hunters either. Many of the former bios who speak out now on some of these things are hunters. They just aren't viewed that way because of the positions they take to put science ahead of politics.
    Gotta say the original statement was absurd. And I agree with Mark's above statement, but need to add that not only does the OP's statement not hold up "up here", it doesn't hold up Outside either. A general statement that does hold up is that biologists tend to be about biology. And the study of biology tends NOT to be about politics, or religion, or picking up chicks, or scoping out the great spots to fish, or any other agenda outside of the understanding of biology. Biologists are scientists. People who try to portray them as something else tend to have an agenda.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Ray View Post
    While I was at UAF every hard core biology student that I knew personally intended to go into fish and game management so that they could poach the best spots while doing "research". However, our group was very unsuccessful in reaching our goals even with several of us getting summer technician jobs. I think that the summer tech jobs were a weeding out process so that managment could determine who the huggers were since none of the thumpers were ever hired for more than summer positions.
    Hey Ray, when did you go to UAF? I was in the Wildlife Bio program in '78-'80. It was very disapointing how few of us bio guys got hired as summer techs. I even had a friend who was an engineering major who got hired as a summer tech. Of course there was a lot of talk about 'collecting' critters while out in the field.
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  13. #13

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    Different Perspective....Just got it in my Inbox.

    PARNELL’S CHOICE THREATENS ANTI-MANAGEMENT LEGACY AT ADF&G



    By Wayne E. Heimer



    There’s always plenty of “politicking” over naming a new ADF&G Commissioner. The “politicking” about Cora Campbell’s selection was behind the scenes till this week, when a former Anchorage Daily News writer hit the blogosphere with a public salvo opposing Governor Parnell’s choice. His message was misguided because he talked with ex-Wildlife Division progressives defending their legacy. These folks established a politically correct anti-management philosophy at ADF&G during their careers, and now seem frightened of changes with Parnell’s administration.



    Having worked in ADF&G’s “Game Division” before its name was softened to the “Division of Wildlife Conservation,” and having been through the Commissioner-application process, I think I can offer some insight into the players and the process. First, the anti-Campbell blog is wrong in claiming ADF&G should be apolitical. ADF&G was created by “politicians” for accepted socio-political purposes, and is bound by Alaska Statutes to follow the policies established in the Alaskan Constitution. Those arguing otherwise, and alleging Ms. Campbell is an unqualified political hack, incorrectly infer the requirements for ADF&G commissioner are those which suit their purpose today. The qualifications for ADF&G Commissioner may be correctly inferred from the Alaska Statutes Sec.16.05.020. Functions of Commissioner.



    According to Alaska law, the commissioner has three major functions. The first, to “supervise and control the department . . . for the general administration of the department;” The second, to “manage, protect, maintain, improve, and extend the fish, game, and aquatic plant resources of the state in the interest of the economy and general well-being of the state.” These seemed simple at statehood, but have become quite complex since. I infer that’s why the third function, having . . .”the necessary power . . . to delegate authority to subordinate officers and employees of the department.” exists.



    When being commissioner was simple, a single, experienced fisheries or wildlife manager thoroughly steeped in the Roosevelt Doctrine (that management should be science-based) could do the job. As things got more complicated this became impossible for a single person. Additionally, special interests and special-interest Governors, began to play politics with the commissioner. Traditionally, commercial fishing interests have dominated commissioner selections because that’s where the money and influence are. We’ve had everything from English majors to planners, and even a few competent biologists or managers as commissioners. Former Commissioner, Denby Lloyd, was among the better ones. He, a commercial fish guy, wisely delegated responsibility for wildlife management to an experienced wildlife manager, the Deputy Commissioner for Wildlife. Also, Commissioner Lloyd was more constitutionally-oriented than those previous commissioners preferred by Parnell’s opponents. Naturally, Commissioner Lloyd’s team shared his viewpoint (which matched the Governors under whom he served). This view demands wildlife be actively managed for the “benefit of the economy and general well-being of the state,” consistent with the Statehood act and intent of the Alaska Constitution. Constitutional intent is clearly articulated in the notes of the resource committee which drafted Article VIII (Natural Resources). It isn’t the “hands off” or “custodial” management progressive ADF&G alumni seek to protect.



    I infer anti-management philosophers don’t like Cora Campbell because they anticipate she will honor the constitution’s clear intent. If so, she will favor predator control, she will resist federal takeover and “feel good about the ecosystem” policies, and she will demand that the folks she delegates to, supervises, and administers follow that script. In short, she may be expected to ‘set wildlife management back 50 years.’ I hope so!



    Because of progressive or inattentive commissioners Wildlife Conservation employees have enjoyed 25 years of basic freedom to do (or ignore) whatever they’ve wanted. This period spanned the entire careers of those former employees fearing for their legacy. Hence, they naturally oppose the necessary constitutional realignment of Wildlife Division’s mission. Restoring a degraded organizational culture isn’t easy. Today’s autonomy-loving managers think “it’s always been this way.” It hasn’t, but progressive, revolutionary, and populist-sounding alumni can always get media attention. I think Cora Campbell frightens folks fearing an organizational culture renewal at ADF&G.



    Ms. Campbell appears to be a competent administrator with competent assistants in Deputy Commissioner for Wildlife, Craig Fleener, and Wildlife Division Director, Corey Rossi. These guys are having a tough time dealing with left-over progressives recruited by commissioners and directors who didn’t respect the constitutional mission. Ms. Campbell and her staff deserve a fair chance. Governor Parnell deserves the appreciation and respect of those who revere the Alaska Constitution. The rest can join Audubon or the Center for Biological Diversity, and hope for a less assertive administration next time.



    Wayne E. Heimer served 25 years as an ADF&G biologist, he began to appreciate the Alaska Constitution during the last five years of his tenure when he was thrust into state-federal ANILCA conflicts. Up till then, he was about like everybody else.
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    [QUOTE=Akres;859160] "SAVE THE FISH" [QUOTE]


    Why is the price going to go up?

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    Well, this is the first piece from ole Craig that I have read in quite a while and I have to say it did not surprise me one bit. Lots of contradictions and a healthy dose of bias. I am on the fence with Cora. One side of me is concerned that she has commercial fishing background that might bias her and she has a lack of background in fish/game resources. The other side of me thinks she might be perfect for the job because she has not been steeped in the Department for decades and does not have a lot of favors to repay. If she takes the sound advice from her staff and lets that guide her, meanwhile she works to back them and support their efforts by keeping the wolves at bay and navigating the administrative portion I could see her being highly successful. I am a firm believer that education does not qualify someone and have seen a lot of career bureocrats that got promoted to management positions that had no business being in that position even though they have decades of experience and tons of education. I am going to hold judgement on this one until I see how she does and I am also going to do another long stretch of not reading Craig's "work".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitroman View Post
    While at UAF, EVERY hardcore biology student that intended to go into "fish & game management" I met was of the unshaved pits, round glasses, wool pants/shirts variety. It has always been about saving the animals from the bad, bad humans.
    Hey now, I only had those round glasses before I got contacts in high school. And I sure hope my pits are shaved. As for wool - it is warm; why not wear it?

    When I started at UAF I was a general biology major. It was only after I became interested in hunting that I decided to specialize in wildlife biology because of how unique and fascinating it is to me.

    I would say that a good chunk of the people who graduate at UAF with a wildlife bio degree either move back to wherever they came from in the lower 48 or do not pursue a career in the field. For those who continue on, there seems a large amount of people who do bird work and an equal or slightly lesser amount who work with large mammals. And it seems that a large portion do go on to work for FWS. It seems they are doing more active research - just looking at technician positions this summer, they are hiring for multiple techs to do avian surveys based out of Fairbanks and ADFG only has one position open in Fairbanks for a tech - and that is only for a few months a year.

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