Organizational Alignment and Optimization of Resource Allocation to Conservation Goals

April 17, 2024 8:40am - April 17, 2024 8:55am

Authors: Ellen Pero, Riley Andrade, Randy Wilson, Laura Brandt, Todd Jones-Farrand, Conor McGowan

Speaker: Laura Brandt (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)


Efficient use of assets in natural resource conservation is important given increasing demand (i.e., conservation need) and limited funding. Allocating organizational resources across large federal conservation agencies can be challenging due to large geographic scopes of responsibility, multiple and potentially competing agency objectives, mandated legal constraints, as well as uncertainty in outcomes relative to variable resource inputs and personnel performance. We adopted a values-based, structured decision-making approach and PrOACT framework with the Science Application and Migratory Bird Program (SAMB) within the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Region 4 to develop an organization-wide objective hierarchy and programmatic metric set to align organization expenditures and actions toward conservation goals. We used expert elicitation to inform a stochastic, constrained-optimization model to provide decision-support for allocation of agency full-time equivalents (FTEs) to maximize SAMB conservation value in the southeast US. We highlight sensitivity of the decision-support tool to shifting agency priorities, and we demonstrate additional tool applications relative to evaluation of SAMB conservation value in the southeast under relaxed legal constraints, shifting FTE allowances, and alternative organizational priorities.