Monitoring the Conservation of Fish and Wildlife in the Northeast

RCN Topic
Regional Indicators and Measures

The Regional Monitoring and Performance Reporting Framework is a collaborative effort of Northeastern states, federal land management agencies, non-governmental organizations and academics. The Framework was designed to help Northeastern states meet the monitoring and performance reporting requirements of State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs). Action Plans assess the condition of each state's wildlife, identify the problems they face, and prescribe actions to conserve wildlife and vital wildlife habitat before they become more rare and costly to protect.

Because the Action Plans are very detailed and include extensive lists of Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN), monitoring all the wildlife and associated habitats described within the plans would be an exceedingly onerous and costly task – one that far exceeds the resources available for the Action Plans themselves. With this in mind, the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (NEAFWA) state directors commissioned a process to develop a monitoring framework that could be used across the region to inform decision makers and managers on how individual states are faring, as well as how the region as a whole is performing.

With funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, NEAFWA members and collaborating agencies developed this Framework to offer an effective and cost-efficient mechanism for reporting on the status of Species of Greatest Conservation Need and their habitats within each state and across the Northeast region, and the effectiveness of actions taken to conserve those resources.

Working together, the partners developed mechanisms to meet monitoring and performance reporting requirements in an effective and cost-efficient manner that allows for...

  • Collecting baseline data to assess status and condition of resources
  • Tracking rare, wide-ranging, and other species that don't recognize state boundaries but may be vital to ensuring conservation success.
  • Compiling region-wide data to increase sample sizes and the statistical power to detect changes in population sizes or condition over time.
  • Improved chances for rapid detection of status change for species and habitats.
  • Increased abilities to compare the effectiveness of strategies and programs through standardized protocols and measures and improved data sharing among states.
  • Simplified roll-up and reporting by state and region to make report generation easier and improve response time to Congress.
  • More affordable data collection and analyses for all participating states through increased economies of scale.

The Framework convened key state and wildlife agency representatives, steering committee members and other technical experts in two workshops in April and September 2007; the workshop presentations and products are provided below.  Also provided is a survey that provided the basis for assessing the current status of Action Plan monitoring and performance reporting, and identified ongoing Landscape/System level monitoring being conducted by non-state partners in order to spur collaboration, information which was critical to the success of the Framework. This project was completed in 2008. Final products include the NE Monitoring and Performance Reporting Framework and the NE Monitoring and Performance Reporting Process Report, provided below along with the Framework Appendices.

The Framework itself provides details on what needs to be monitored, what data exist, and how that data should be collected, analyzed, and reported. This document, however, does not present actual data about the health of Northeastern fish, wildlife, and ecosystems. Nor does it present data that illustrate the effectiveness of conservation actions. Rather, it provides the means for NEAFWA members to work together to collect, analyze, and communicate that data. 

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A Report on the Process to Develop a  Monitoring and Performance Reporting Framework for the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies 

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  • Appendix 1: Indicators for Forest Target
  • Appendix 2: Indicators for Freshwater Streams and River Systems Target
  • Appendix 3: Indicators for Freshwater Wetlands Target
  • Appendix 4: Indicators for Highly Migratory Species Target
  • Appendix 5: Indicators for Lakes and Ponds Target
  • Appendix 7: Indicators for Regionally Significant Species of Greatest Conservation Need Target
  • Appendix 8: Indicators for Unique Habitats of the Northeast Target
  • Appendix 9: Examples of Results Chains
  • Appendix 10: Proposed Data Fields for Strategy Effectiveness Database
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  • June 2007 Workshop Introductory Presentation
  • June 2007 Workshop Products
  • September 2007 Workshop Products
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