The Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program benefits from the coordinated efforts of many individuals and entities in implementing elements of the program on an ongoing basis. In recent years, funding for coordination activities has come under scrutiny as to who to fund, in what groupings, and for what purposes. The problem appears to be that the subject of “coordination,” and various “coordinating” groups and proposals, have taken on lives of their own, as if “coordination” was a distinct program area on its own, rather than an activity defined by and subordinate to the need to make progress on other program activities.
Coordination activities under the program should be rebuilt from a set of basic principles:
- “Coordination” is not an action or a subject for funding by itself.
- Coordination is an activity that is incidental to the need to make progress on a substantive program area that requires the coordinated work of more than one entity.
- What type of “coordination” activity needs to occur in any particular instance will depend on the particular work that needs to be accomplished under the program and the particular entities identified that need to act together to accomplish that work. For example, the entities and levels of effort involved in coordinating regional data management will be different than the entities and levels of effort needed to coordinate the revisions of a subbasin plan, and so forth.
- The program will determine the needed levels of coordination and coordination funding as incidental to and bound up in the particular program areas. That is, it is in the substantive elements of the program that we will identify where coordination is needed, at what level, among what entities, and by whom funded. For example, the coordination needs for regional data management — including the identification of who needs to receive funding for that purpose and for what amount — will occur only as part of the program element, funding decisions and contracts related to regional data management.
- Entities should not receive “coordination” funding for unspecified coordination, or for general office overhead and staffing purposes. An entity should receive funding for coordination activities related to a specific program element only to the extent that the entity is integral to the specific program element and needs to coordinate with others also identified as integral to that element to accomplish the work.
- A group representing multiple entities should not exist just to provide a “coordination” function or receive “coordination” funding unless the individual entities that need to coordinate a particular program element find it more efficient to coordinate their work through such a group for that particular purpose.