Influencing Your Agency’s Thinking
Robert F. Carline and David A. Lieb
Can a young biologist actually influence the thinking of an agency? One’s first reaction might be “no way.” But perhaps it is possible. Below, we each share an experience demonstrating how, despite setbacks and challenges, we were eventually able to influence our agency’s thinking. We hope our experiences will prove useful to the next generation of agency biologists.
My fisheries career began in 1967 after completing an M.S. in fisheries at Oregon State University and taking a job with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Coldwater Research Unit. I was a project leader assigned to assess the biological responses to dredging of small, spring-fed ponds that supported wild Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis and Brown Trout Salmo trutta. It was a great research opportunity, and I was excited.
After about one year on the project, I decided that it would be really useful for the agency to do an economic analysis of this management program. After all, it was a costly program and the agency should be able to justify these expenditures on the basis of economic returns resulting from improved trout fisheries. While the need for this kind of analysis may have had some merit, my approach to convincing others was way off base.