There are a number of inter-agency teams and work groups that bring together not only different agencies but also teams of scientists and practitioners from different disciplines. Efforts will be made to develop effective working partnerships among these groups in order to gain efficiencies. For example, MAWPT is in the process of serving up critical wetlands data to the internet and making it available to the public. Much of this geographically referenced data would also be useful to watershed groups. The Comprehensive Wildlife Strategy Steering Committee is assessing habitat threats to non-game species of concern. There may be mutual benefit in sharing data. Coordination can be strengthened between the NRCS Technical Committee and the NPS Management Program Task Force (e.g., meetings could be held back to back and agendas coordinated). Six examples of groups created to promote interagency cooperation are briefly described below:
NPS Management Program Task Force.
The NPS Management Program Task Force is a new initiative that expands and builds on previous collaborative planning. Organized in July 2004, the expanded task force has met four times in the preparation of the 2006-2010 NPS Management Program Update. The task force will continue to meet every other year to review progress toward achieving the goals and objectives of the plan, to assess the need to update the plan, and to identify ways to improve coordination of implementation activities within statewide programs and between priority watersheds and statewide programs.
NRCS Technical Committee.
NRCS coordinates with its partners through the State Technical Committee. The State Technical Committee is comprised of individuals who represent a variety of natural resource sciences and occupations, including soil, water, plants, wetlands and wildlife. The State Technical Committee includes representatives of federal, state and local agencies as well as nonprofit organizations and others.
Arkansas Conservation Partnership (ACP).
A formal relationship known as the ACP was formed in 1992 between key local partners and state and federal agencies with a statewide focus. The ACP includes ANRC, Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts (AACD), Arkansas Association of Conservation District Employees (AACDE), NRCS, University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, AFC, and Arkansas Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc. The partnership is committed to locally-led conservation of natural resources by providing a unique combination of coordinated educational, financial and technical assistance to landowners. While each partner offers unique services, the partnership is committed to teamwork, consensus, joint decision making and sharing of successes and failures. The partnership strives to breakdown interagency barriers, eliminate duplication of effort, and improve communication so that landowners are better served. Partners in the ACP also work closely with the ADEQ, the Arkansas Water Resource Center (AWRC) and other entities within the University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture (e.g., the research station at Arkansas State University).
Arkansas Watershed Advisory Group (AWAG).
AWAG is a consortium of state and federal agency personnel and private citizens that promotes local voluntary approaches to watershed management and conservation. AWAG provides technical assistance to organize watershed groups, facilitates quarterly discussion of voluntary approaches and hosts an annual water quality conference. ADEQ provides staff support for AWAG.
Multi-Agency Wetland Planning Team (MAWPT).
The Arkansas MAWPT comprises state agency representatives promoting wetland conservation through implementation of goals and objectives contained in the Arkansas Wetland Strategy. The Arkansas MAWPT, formed through the Governor's office, has developed statewide and watershed level strategies that encourage voluntary, incentive-based conservation initiatives and consistent planning efforts. The hydrogeomorphic classification and assessment of wetlands, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) watershed analyses, restoration and protection of unique wetlands, and educational outreach are key components to successful conservation and management of the wetland resources of Arkansas.
Comprehensive Wildlife Strategy Steering Committee.
An interagency, multidisciplinary team of professionals representing public agencies and private organizations are contributing to the development of a strategy for conserving Arkansas non-game wildlife. The interagency team will identify species of concern, identify the habitats where these species are located, assess habitat conditions and identify management practices and financial assistance programs to protect those species and habitats, including aquatic life and habitats. Guidance for developing the strategy is provided by the USFWS. This interagency team includes biologists, hydrologists, land use managers and others. Agencies represented include AGFC, USFS, USFWS, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (ANHC), Audubon Arkansas, and The Nature Conservancy.
are voluntary groups of citizens interested in working on water conservation efforts sponsored by a coalition of agencies and private groups, including the AGFC, Keep Arkansas Beautiful, ADEQ, Audubon Arkansas, USDA NRCS, the Arkansas Bass Association, the ANRC, the Arkansas Cattleman’s Association, the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, the Arkansas Chapter of the Sierra Club and about two dozen other agencies and groups. Stream Teams help control litter, work on stream bank stabilization projects, improve fish habitat, and monitor water quality. Some 500 stream teams are active in Arkansas.