The Council received substantive comments on the March 15, 2010 Draft Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Reporting (MERR) Plan. All comments have been circulated and reviewed by the Council members, and carefully read and considered by relevant staff.

The comments indicated general support for the concepts and approach in the draft MERR plan, and the need for such a plan. The comments also identified a host of important issues that need to be worked out before the Council is able to finalize the MERR Plan. After having considered the comments and reviewed the draft Plan, the Council intends to take more time than originally expected to finalize the MERR Plan. The Council will follow a phased approach spanning from 2010 to 2014 for revising the draft.

Many of the comments were of an editorial or technical nature, in most cases requiring revisions or additions to the draft Plan, but not raising complicated or policy issues. In the first phase of the revision to the draft MERR Plan, the staff revised the draft Plan consistent with these comments. See the July 12, 2010 Revised Draft MERR Plan. Future drafts produced between 2010 and 2014 also will be posted on the Council’s website.

The rest of the comments raised larger policy issues, or at least issues that require Council member guidance for how to resolve these in a manner consistent with the monitoring, evaluation, research and reporting elements of the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program. The staff has organized these issues into three different categories or “buckets” for treatment based on the complexity of the issue and how fundamental it is to the Plan’s approach. The different issue categories are described in the Revision Approach and Status, which also describes the phased approach and a rough schedule for dealing with the different issue categories.

Issues in the first or “short-term” bucket or category consist of policy issues that the Council can address quickly. The staff discussed these issues with the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Committee at the Council’s June and July meeting. These policies issues were addressed in the July 12 Draft MERR Plan. Work to address the longer-term issues will occur later as described in the revised draft MERR Plan.

Please contact Nancy Leonard (503-222-5161) if you have further questions on how comments are being addressed.