Cooperative fishery and wildlife research units program outputs

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


The Cooperative Fishery and Wildlife Research Units program is a federal-state-private cooperative program of training, research, and technical assistance. Formally authorized by Congress in 1960, the program actually began 26 years earlier with establishment of wildlife units at land grant universities in Virginia, Oregon, and Iowa. Each unit, of which there are 50 today, functions under a cooperative agreement involving the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the state conservation agency, the university where the unit is located and the Wildlife Management Institute (wildlife units and combined fishery and wildlife units only). In recent years the program has been criticized as not being a truly cooperative media for research, education, and public services that meet the needs of cooperators and produce the intended benefits. In addition, particularly at the federal level, the program has not fared well in competition with other programs for limited manpower and financial resources. Before effectiveness of a program can be judged or justified, its inputs and outputs must be understood, not only in terms of quantity, but also in terms of quality. This study, through literature review, questionnaires, letters and personal interviews attempts to: 1) identify and define unit outputs; 2) develop criteria for measuring the quality and quantity of the outputs; 3) integrate output data into a method for evaluating effectiveness; and 4) provide cooperators in the program with a methodology for program evaluation. The study does not involve an actual program evaluation or justification. Rather, it provides cooperators with a methodology for program evaluation.