AUGUSTA, Maine -- An independent, comprehensive review of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife revealed that the department is blessed with a dedicated and hard working staff, but that it is understaffed and under funded for its myriad of responsibilities. The report was delivered to the Legislative Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife today.
"The review reflects what I learned very quickly once I became commissioner. We possess an excellent, hard working staff, but it is becoming harder and harder to keep pace with the increased responsibilities that are thrust upon us," said Commissioner Roland D. Martin. Martin stated that he would further review the report, and then plan a course of action for implementing the recommendations. "The department supported the legislation that allowed us to retain the services of the Management Assistance Team, and I welcome these findings and recommendations. The comprehensive review provides us with a guide to enhance the effectiveness of this agency," said Martin.
The report states that the department staffing levels have remained level since the 1970s, but during that time, the legislature has broadened the department's responsibilities without funding additional staff. The report noted increased recreational enforcement duties, permitting, registration and others.
The report makes several recommendations as to how the department could improve performance within existing staff and funding. However, the MAT review also stated that the department needs a better source of funding, and that it needed an advocacy group that supported and lobbied for the department. The Sportsman's Alliance of Maine (SAM) and Maine Audubon were cited as natural possibilities.
The Management Assistance Team, a consultant group that works exclusively for state fish and wildlife agencies, conducted the independent review. The team conducted interviews, focus groups, and reviewed documents as part of the review. Many department employees, legislators and members of the public participated in these focus groups and interviews. The process was thorough and took into account many points of view. The MAT group did not review the Fisheries Division, since it completed a review of this division last January.
Overall, the review recommended some organizational restructuring, increase in funding and staffing, and included 57 recommendations to enhance the effectiveness of the agency.
The review was initiated at the request of the State Legislature with support from the commissioner's office and was begun in October of 2003. A multi-state federal conservation grant and the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund provided funding for the review. The full report is available on the Department's website www.state.me.us/ifw/pdf/matreport.pdf.
|Back to News||Home||Print This Story|