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RIGHT TO LIFE?
DEMOCRACY?
IMPACTS
GAME HOGS?
DISINFORMATION
STRATEGY
BOARD of GAME
1. I would not include anyone from any government agency on the Board of Wildlife. The Board should oversee
agencies, not represent them. Having been a member of a local F&G advisory board, I've had plenty of opportunity
to query agency reps -- an approach that works fairly well. Also, as a consultant, I've critiqued a lot of agency
"science" and found a discouraging amount to be politically correct. A board should serve to oversee the objectivity
and thoroughness of agency "science."

2. The board should include a science subcommittee, or at least an advisory group of scientists without agency
affiliations. I would specify that only a minority of these positions could be filled with former agency folks -- too many
of whom still spout the party line.

3. The Board should promote broader funding for wildlife management / stewardship, for instance a viewing fee.

4. Members representing the viewing "industry" should not be limited to business owners, but also include or focus
on guides -- the people who actually bring viewers to wildlife.

5. "Amateur" viewers need their own representation -- their interest is not necessarily financial.

6. Each board chair should have an alternate, to minimize difficulty reaching a quorum at meetings.

7. I'd include at least 2 traditional Natives, one representing Interior/terrestrial/Arctic and one southern
coastal/marine.

8. Coincident with forming a board should be development of standards on what constitutes sound science -- both
western and Indigenous science. Although there is much to be said for tactically "rigorous" science (e.g., minimizing
error in measurement, measuring and analyzing quantitatively where possible, adequate sample sizes, etc.), that
should not be the only criterion of soundness. Equally importance is relevance. Much "politically correct" science is
very sound tactically; but it avoids asking the "wrong" questions. True sound science tries to identify all plausible
hypotheses and all significant influences on a phenomenon, then tests/analyzes them.  For example, If a moose
population grows as wolves and bears decline, was the change in moose abundance really due to the decline in
predation? How certain are we that the moose are now more abundant? What else might account for their increase?
etc.

Science advisors to the Board of wildlife might review research permit requests for soundness. Far too many
decisions on permits are made politically. A lot of unsound research gets funded on the basis of good old boy
networking, whereas a lot of sounder research is not permitted or is not funded.
WE NEED TO REPLACE ALASKA'S "BOARD OF GAME" WITH
A "BOARD OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION"

by
Stephen F. Stringham, PhD
The current Board of Game 16.05.221 Alaska Statute reads:

"For purposes of the conservation and development of the game resources of the state, there is created a Board of
Game composed of seven members appointed by the governor, subject to confirmation by a majority of the
members of the legislature in joint session. The governor shall appoint each member on the basis of interest in
public affairs, good judgment, knowledge, and ability in the field of action of the board, and with a view to providing
diversity of interest and points of view in the membership. The appointed members shall be residents of the state
and shall be appointed without regard to political affiliation or geographical location of residence. The commissioner
is not a member of the Board of Game, but shall be ex officio secretary."
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Comments by Paul Joslin

Note that "diversity" is defined in terms of "interest and points of view" which is almost meaningless. Each of the existing
BOG members could claim to represent a different point of view on the basis of place of residence, type of preferred
hunting and trapping, shoe size or whatever.

At our May 3rd meeting several people expressed interest in the way that Nevada had defined membership on the
board that oversees its wildlife (attached). What they liked was its clarity in defining to a person who shall sit on it.

An examination of all of the wildlife related boards and commissions in the US is now under way, a list of which
appeared in the May 3rd notes (attached).

Another place to also be looking for models is among the other boards and commissions that exist right here in Alaska.
A website specifically addressing these sites can be found at
http://www.gov.state.ak.us/boards/list.html
The "fact sheets" cut right to the chase regarding membership.  While I have only gotten through the first dozen or so,
it is already becoming apparent that many Alaska Governor appointed boards do a better job of defining the
characteristics of those who shall sit on them than does the Board of Game. Many are also larger.
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GOAL TO RESOLVE RELEVANT ISSUES

The Alaska Board of Forestry is a particularly interesting example (attached and below). Included is a description of
how the board should function that states, "Provides a forum for representatives of affected interests to discuss
and attempt to resolve relevant issues concerning Alaska's forest resources." Is this not a description of what we
are trying to create concerning the oversight of Alaska's wildlife resources?

MEMBERSHIP APPOINTMENTS DESIGNED TO ENSURE THAT
ALL AFFECTED INTERESTS ARE REPRESENTED

Membership on the Board of Forestry has been defined to a person not only to create maximum diversity, but to
make sure that all of the major "affected" interests that are directly impacted by forest management have a voice in
the decision making; namely Native corporations, forest industry, commercial fishing, mining, conservation, and
recreational use. Note also the emphasis on science professionals as part of the mix. While the Governor still gets
to appoint the members that sit on the Board of Forestry his ability to create a single agenda monopoly like that
which exists on the Board of Game has been all but curtailed in the Board of Forestry example.

SOUND SCIENCE AND THE NEED TO ERR ON THE SIDE OF CONSERVATION
At both of our two meetings the need for addressing the science issue has come up, with clearly the desire among
the group being to ensure that it be included in the mix when describing the future Board of Wildlife.

In January, 2003 former Board of Game vice chair, Julie Maier, put her finger on the most egregious aspects of
what management without following scientific principles means when she wrote in an opinion piece that appeared in
the Anchorage Daily News, "Gov. Frank Murkowski says he wants to manage for "maximum abundance." What he
means is that he wants moose and caribou to be at historical highs, which are not sustainable. In fact, since
humans are continuing to affect ecosystems and are reducing habitat available to wildlife, the number of moose and
caribou that can be supported will continue to decline through time no matter who's on the board." Julie Maier
knows what she is talking about. She holds a doctorate in wildlife management from the University of Alaska
Fairbanks and specializes in moose and caribou ecology. Perhaps the necessity of "sound science" and the need
to "error on the side of conservation in order to ensure sustainablity of naturally functioning, healthy ecosystems"
might be words for considering when describing the requirements of the board decision making process,
especially when it concerns highly controversial gross manipulation of populations like wolves and bears.
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Continued >>
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PRO-LIFE?  
Homepage of ALASKA'S PREDATOR HOLOCAUST
Bear Viewing Association
To watch, to wonder and to conserve
Index of  Bear  Webpages
Bear Viewing Association
To watch, to wonder, and to conserve
gobearviewing@hotmail.com
Ph/Fax (907) 260-9059 (Office)
39200 Alma Ave.    Soldotna, AK  99669
bear viewing Alaska, bear photography, bear safety, bear behavior



Answers to questions commonly asked by wildlife viewers on the topics listed below:
Bear Viewing Association
To watch, to wonder, and to conserve
gobearviewing@hotmail.com
Ph/Fax (907) 260-9059 (Office)
39200 Alma Ave.    Soldotna, AK  99669
bear viewing Alaska, bear photography, bear safety, bear behavior
(c) 2016 S. Stringham