Don’t Let Your RMP Become A Doll

January 5th, 2018

Do you know anyone who collects porcelain dolls? These aren’t dolls that are important to children, these are artifacts that adorn a shelf. Your resource management plan is not a porcelain doll.

Taking your plan off the shelf is the right thing to do because plan utilization means reliable implementation and long-term success. If your plan is highlighted, dog-eared, and used regularly, then you are on the right track (unless of course, it’s marked-up with all the illegal and immoral stuff that needs to be changed).

Mike Hyde, planner and public lands coordinator for Duchesne County, uses his plan regularly and stakeholders know they can rely on consistently-applied policies. Make sure to pull-out your plan when the community’s conversation involves issues about wildlife, zoning, fire management, weed abatement, and water. Resources like air quality, water quality, and land use change all the time with case law and federal and state machinations, so you should consider updating these sections biannually.

Future management decisions will be based on data, therefore if you collect data, you will be in a position to influence the process. A quote attributed to W. Edwards Deming states, “In God we trust. All others bring data.” If you want to prove that change has occurred in/to a resource you will have to determine a valid, consistent way to collect data, and then collect and record it.

Precipitation is data is collected by the state and federal government. Data on agricultural experiments is collected by Utah State University Extension. Average annual trips per day on state highways are already collected by UDOT. It is best for a county with limited resources to determine their top two priorities, and then create a tenable plan with state agencies, NGOs, Extension, or staff to collect and record that data in an electronic form. It would be nice to collect a lot of data on air quality, soils, and land access, but be realistic about what you can consistently afford. This will take years, but if accurately recorded, you will have evidence of change. That data can be used to inform future management decisions.

Don’t adorn your office with porcelain dolls. It’s creepy, and people will say stuff. Get that RMP off the shelf and make responsible resource management a reality. Maybe your national monument will get carved-up, people are going to start asking what you would like to see done with it.