Resource allocation for invasive species management on National Wildlife Refuges lands in the Midwestern United States

April 17, 2024 11:20am - April 17, 2024 11:35am

Click here to download PDF copy of presentation

Authors: Angela Romito & Max Post van der Burg

Speaker: Angela Romito (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)


A team comprised of United States Fish & Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuge System (US FWS NWRS) biologists and refuge managers worked collaboratively to develop a transparent, coordinated process to allocate annual invasive species funding, better leverage relevant resources, and reduce the impact of non-native species, in turn, facilitating achievement of biological integrity, species diversity, and environmental health across the Midwest US FWS NWRS. They constrained their work to reflect refuge capacity for project implementation, variability in station priorities, adherence to funding directives, and relevant law and policy. Five fundamental objectives were identified by the team including, 1) maximizing the condition of refuge species of concern and their associated habitats, 2) project success, 3) efficiency, 4) maximizing the number of refuges that benefit from allocation and, 5) partner and landowner acceptance. To assess how well proposed projects performed relative to these objectives, measurable performance measures (15 total) were identified for each objective. A request for proposal (RFP) system was used to solicit projects from 70 Refuge Complexes and Wetland Management Districts across the Midwest NWRS. To reduce administrative burden, and subjectivity in proposal review, the RFP was designed (via Microsoft Forms) to allow proposal authors to score their projects according to the criteria selected by the model development team. The decision aid was used to produce four project portfolios, along with predictions of their expected conservation benefits, for consideration by regional decision-makers. The optimal portfolio resulted in the most projects funded and the highest cumulative conservation benefit. Decision-makers collectively chose to allocate funds to the projects in the optimal portfolio. The decision tool, along with the RFP system, will be used to allocate these funds in future years.