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Welcome to the interactive web schedule for the 2019 Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference! The schedule is subject to change (as of November 7, 2018). Please check back for updates. To return to the main Conference website, go to: www.midwestfw.org.

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Wednesday, January 30 • 10:40am - 11:00am
(SYMPOSIA-15) Seizing an Opportunity for Engagement with New Stakeholders: Building Wildlife Policy and Agency Relevancy

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AUTHORS: Barbara Avers, Amy Derosier – Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: State wildlife agencies (SWAs) have limited opportunities to interact with new constituents, and many times these are unsolicited interactions. Yet these exchanges can provide important opportunities for SWAs to build trust and relevancy with new stakeholders by creating strong processes that include transparency and clear decision space. We will share an example in Michigan where Michigan DNR engaged with a new group of constituents to develop a policy and program to address swimmer’s itch concerns.  Residents of several northern Michigan lakes had serious concerns that swimmer’s itch was negatively impacting local economies and were seeking a solution.  Since previous research indicated that common mergansers (Mergus merganser) are an important host for the parasite that causes swimmer’s itch, there was a desire by several lake associations to control these waterfowl despite concerns by state and federal wildlife agencies and other stakeholders.  Concerned citizens turned to their state legislators for relief and the Michigan DNR was tasked with resolving the issue. The Michigan DNR convened a core team of diverse stakeholders to co-develop a policy and program for common merganser control and used an interest-based approach that recognized multiple and diverse interests in the issue (e.g., lake residents for and against lethal control, tourism industry, wildlife managers, health departments, bird watchers, waterfowl hunters). Through the engagement process, a common understanding of the issue was developed, and the agency was able to better understand and manage stakeholder expectations.  Using this example, we will present challenges and successes of the engagement process, as well as provide tangible recommendations and tools for future stakeholder engagement opportunities.

Wednesday January 30, 2019 10:40am - 11:00am
HOPE BALLROOM B