Oregon Water Resources Department: Enhancing Sustainability Efforts and Agency Planning Needed to Better Address Oregon’s Water Supply Needs

Executive Summary


Oregon is facing growing pressures and concerns related to its water supply. The Water Resources Department (WRD), charged with managing the state’s water resources, could better balance water rights issuance and management with actions to sustain current and future water needs. The agency can also enhance its focus on groundwater protection, data collection and analysis, and workload and staffing. A long-term agency plan would help WRD strategically focus and prioritize the agency’s efforts and align them with available resources.

Read full report here.

Better balance needed to ensure water sustainability

owrd_logo_color_smwebParts of the state are experiencing regular and large scale water supply availability issues. There are indications that this trend will continue, intensify, and spread. Many water sources in the state have been fully allocated, and groundwater levels are decreasing in several areas. By 2050, Oregon could be faced with a need for an additional 424 billion gallons of water per year to meet irrigation needs and municipal and industrial demand. Though Oregon is known as a rainy place, there is a limited amount of consumable water available for meeting all existing needs and new uses.

While issuing water rights has always been a key responsibility for WRD, actions to restore and protect stream flows and watersheds for long-term sustainability have received less attention. Related programs are limited in number and in participation. The demands that are putting pressure on Oregon’s water supply are likely to continue to grow, which raises the need for action to ensure the ongoing sustainability of our water.

Groundwater protection needs more focus

Groundwater usage is increasing, and a large and growing number of wells go uninspected. Poor well construction may result in higher levels of groundwater contamination or wasted water. Contaminated groundwater would harm the overall groundwater supply. WRD has few well inspectors to inspect all wells in the state. For those wells that are inspected, WRD staff have noted an increase in well drilling deficiencies at a time when well construction has also increased. This could be due in part to minimal requirements to become licensed as a well driller in Oregon. Also, WRD could better coordinate with other agencies to address well risks, such as water contamination and public safety concerns, for the overall health of groundwater resources.

Data challenges hinder efforts to manage and conserve water

WRD collects a lot of information on surface water and some on groundwater. However, given the size of Oregon and its complex geology and aquifer systems, many areas of the state have not had detailed groundwater and surface water investigations. Not all water users are required to report their use, and as such, the amount of water being used in the state can only be estimated. Also, some of the data collected has not been entered into databases and analyzed, so the agency is not able to use it for water management decisions.

Increasing demands and other limitations impede monitoring and regulating water

Dry creek bed in Central Oregon

Dry creek bed in Central Oregon

Growing and changing demands coupled with a limited number of field staff impact WRD’s capacity to effectively monitor and regulate Oregon’s water supply. Field staff coverage overall has steadily declined and there have been some extended gaps in time where positions were vacant. Field staff have to cover a vast geographic region and associated workload. This, along with limited external support, impedes the agency’s ability to protect water and the rights of users, and to curb illegal water use. WRD should regularly assess field staff workload to ensure it aligns to resources and that staff time is dedicated to critical responsibilities.

Long-term agency plan needed to help focus efforts on future water sustainability

While the Integrated Water Resources Strategy provides a long-term multi-agency plan for managing water resources in Oregon, WRD needs an agency plan to strategically focus and prioritize its efforts, and align them with available resources, to better meet its mission. This would help WRD balance its efforts to ensure both consumptive and environmental water demands can be met now and into the future, and address areas needing increased focus, such as groundwater protection, data collection and analysis, and workload and staffing issues. Priority-based planning can help clarify and direct agency efforts that are vital to protecting Oregon’s water supply.

Recommendations

This audit recommends ways WRD can build on its efforts to help address the current and future sustainability of the state’s water supply. Our detailed recommendations for agency management are included on Page 26. They include recommendations for further integrating sustainability considerations into water management decisions, helping to ensure water laws and rules meet current and future needs, enhancing well regulation and groundwater protection efforts, strategically collecting and analyzing information, aligning staff workload with mission critical priorities and resources, and developing an agency long-term plan.

Agency Response

The agency generally agrees with our findings and recommendations. The full agency response can be found at the end of the report.

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Methods (to our Madness): Leveraging Administrative Data to Understand a Management Issue

Periodically, we will highlight some of the methods used in a recently released audit. Every performance audit is unique and can require creative thinking and methodologies to answer our audit objective. Some of these methods could be replicated or present valuable lessons for future projects.

Anyone who pays attention to the news or lives near a fire prone area, knows that Oregon’s fire seasons have been extreme the past few years. But I sat down with Amelia Eveland, Senior Auditor, and Luis Sandoval, Staff Auditor, to learn about more than Oregon’s formidable wildfires: how the team used data to understand workforce issues at the Department of Forestry, as described in the recently released audit, Department of Forestry: Actions Needed to Address Strain on Workforce and Programs from Wildfires.

Department of Forestry staff had described fire seasons in terms of acres burned and other fire activity measures, but hadn’t put numbers to what they intuitively knew; those large and frequent fires were affecting all of their programs. The team was able to quantify some of the impact of fires on department programs and staff by analyzing the actual hours worked by employees.

Don’t Overlook Administrative Data Sources

One of the things that I found most interesting was their data source: payroll data. Payroll data is collected for administrative purposes. But administrative data should not be overlooked as a source of information for management analysis. Payroll data provided the information that the team needed and was possibly more accurate than other data sources, since accuracy is important when people are being paid.

Understand Your Data and Its Limitations

Using a data source that is collected for another purpose can have downsides though. The payroll data only went back 6 years and only showed hours billed, not worked. The hours worked by some staff who weren’t eligible for overtime weren’t captured.

The team also had to understand the data and parameters. To do this they worked with the department’s financial staff who were familiar with it. They asked the department staff to pull the data and to check the team’s methodology. In the course of this process, they eliminated pay codes that would double count hours. For example, if someone was working a night shift on a fire line, they could receive pay differential (a supplemental payment) on top of their regular salary. Pay differential hours were logged separately from the hours logged for regular pay, despite applying to the same shift. Initially the team had been counting these hours twice, but working closely with the agency helped them pinpoint and correct potential methodological errors.

Putting Numbers to the Impacts on Staff and Programs

The team overcame these minor obstacles to conduct some pretty interesting analyses. They found that the past three fire seasons had been particularly demanding in terms of staff time, mostly due to regular and overtime hours from permanent employees (as shown in the graph below). This suggests that these employees may be pulled from other activities, and may also feel overworked.

 

forestry-chart

Payroll Hours Billed to Fire Protection by All Oregon Dept. of Forestry Employees

 

The team was also able to get a more accurate picture of which programs were contributing to fighting fire through specialized incident management teams. Because many Forestry employees split their regular time between different programs (for example, someone may split their time 80/20 between Private Forests and Fire Protection), it can be hard to track which programs are being affected when that person goes out to fight a fire. The audit team totaled the regular hours billed to each program and used the proportion of this total to arrive at a proportion of contributing programs.

Get the Power Pivot Add-in (so cool)

I asked the team for advice on using payroll data. They suggested manipulating the data as much as possible in the data query tool before exporting the data for analysis. The team used excel for analysis but used the power pivot add-in to be able to summarize the large quantity of data.

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Things to consider when choosing performance audit topics

How does a performance audit shop decide what topics, and which agencies, warrant an audit? After all, a quick scan of your morning newspaper will stir up a seemingly endless number of important public issues. We can’t get to them all- not all at the same time, anyway- so how do we pick one topic over another?

One illuminating response to that question comes from the schedule of the Auditor General of British Columbia:

Because there are more projects than we can carry out, we use a comprehensive and systematic process to select the topics that best meet our mandate and will have the greatest impact. Potential performance audit topics come from:

  • the work we’ve completed and are currently engaged in
  • discussions with stakeholders, including the public service, government and the opposition
  • information and requests from MLAs, the people of B.C. and other stakeholders
  • the work of other audit offices
  • changes to government sectors and programs

Topics

The same considerations largely apply in Oregon as well. Auditors here at the Oregon Audits Division (OAD) work on a wide range of potential topics, limited only by the range and breadth of public services state agencies deliver. In addition to the considerations outlined above, we also look at broader issues that affect multiple agencies and the general public. We consider topics where an audit may add value and clarity to the discussion, or provide guidance to an agency in need of a course correction to achieve its mission and goals. These include areas of great significance to the general population and costs to taxpayers (education, health care, environment), areas prone to risk (IT systems), and many more of the kinds of complex ‘wicked’ problems that require sustained efforts to ensure that they are properly managed.

Timing

The timing of an audit can affect the relevance and value of the audit findings and recommendations. An immediate issue that receives a lot of public attention in March may change drastically by October, so it is worth considering whether to go ahead with an audit when circumstances might render the findings obsolete by the time the report is released. For that reason, we choose topics with much care and an eye to systemic long-term benefits. The results of our audits ideally help public agencies avoid major issues to start with- not just attempt to right what has already gone wrong.

Audit Schedules

Many audit shops prepare and even publish audit schedules well in advance. Some audit topics are requested or mandated, and others are issues (or agencies) that haven’t been visited in a while and are ripe for review. That said, apart from mandated audits, an audit schedule is less a promise than it is a preview of potential coming attractions. Other, more needful, questions may arise between now and the beginning of the next audit schedule. Maintaining some amount of flexibility helps audit shops share a perspective on issues that is timely and useful.

A few audit schedule examples:

Multnomah County Auditor

Auditor General of British Columbia

Audit Scotland

 

OAD and our peers both near and far approach topic selection thoughtfully, deliberately, and with a long list of considerations in mind.

Please consult our website to delve deeper into our recent performance audits, or visit our audit snapshots page to get a taste of our recent performance audit findings.

 

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Oregon Department of Forestry: Actions Needed to Address Strain on Workforce and Programs from Wildfires

Executive Summary


Three consecutive severe fire seasons have forced the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) to spend more time fighting fires and less time on its other programs. Recent fires have also strained ODF personnel, who often work long hours away from home.

ODF needs to take action to reduce these impacts on personnel and programs. Systematic, long-term workforce planning that takes into account resources needed for both fire and non-fire programs; development of a more effective business improvement process; better evaluation of wildfire prevention and detection measures; and increased mitigation efforts are steps ODF should take to help address current and future challenges.

Read full report here

ODF needs to analyze and clearly communicate full impacts of wildfires on the agency

Photo by Oregon Department of Forestry, CC BY

Since 2013, intense fire seasons have resulted in ODF staff spending more time on fire assignments. However, ODF does not currently collect, analyze and communicate to the Legislature and its stakeholders the full impacts of fires on its programs and personnel. This information is necessary for ODF to adequately plan and manage its workforce to meet existing and future demands.

Not only are more employees participating in fire related assignments, but these employees are working much longer hours. Overtime hours spent on fire protection by permanent employees have increased by 197% in recent years.

While the wildfire suppression workload has increased, staffing has not kept pace. ODF is fighting more severe fires with about the same full-time equivalent employees it had nearly 20 years ago. Fires have also created more administrative work, including preparing claims for cost reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal agencies, and making catastrophic wildfire insurance claims and emergency funding requests. To date several of these claims have not been completely processed, which resulted in ODF borrowing to finance these fire related costs. During the past three fire seasons, ODF paid $1.5 million in interest on this borrowing.

ODF staff in Salem and field offices are feeling overworked and are experiencing stress and fatigue as a result of fire related work. Despite the strain of consecutive severe fire seasons, ODF Management reports that employees remain committed to participating in the agency’s firefighting efforts. However, as staff devote more time to wildfire seasons, employees and agency leadership have expressed concerns about ODF’s ability to continue performing at current service levels.

Recent fires have caused delays in work for ODF’s non-fire programs, as employees in these programs are deployed to fire incidents. Examples include delays in developing annual operations plans for state forests, completing Forest Practices Act compliance reporting, and updating bald eagle protection rules. Fires have also created more work for employees in these programs after fires are controlled, such as salvage logging operations and developing and implementing reforestation plans.

Non-fire program contributions to fire response capacity are not fully known

ODF2

Photo by Oregon Department of Forestry, CC BY

Non-fire programs contribute to ODF’s firefighting and to maintaining fire readiness. But ODF is not tracking the contributions these programs make, which are absorbed into their respective budgets. While we identified some of these contributions, ODF needs a full accounting of the contributions and related costs to adequately plan for both fire and non-fire work.

Non-fire programs contribute staff hours to fight fires and to Incident Management command and support teams. For example during the last three fire seasons, the average number of hours State Forests Program staff billed to fire protection doubled to 19,038 hours.
These programs also pay other fire-related expenses such as the cost of specialized fire qualification training, and certain fire equipment and supplies. ODF needs better information on these costs and how changes to staffing, funding and workload in these non-fire programs affect fire operation capacity.

Agency wide workforce planning needed

ODF needs a systematic workforce planning process to effectively address current and emerging challenges to its programs and workforce. Workforce analysis is needed to identify gaps and to monitor, evaluate, and revise resources in order to meet the agency’s strategic goals now and in the future. ODF has completed some analysis, but more is needed, and it should include all necessary firefighting resources.

At ODF, workforce planning is complicated by staff who have program duties and firefighting responsibilities; long training times for fire duties; and the need to meet multiple program missions, including responding to wildfires. But complete workforce analysis and planning, that takes these factors into account, can help ODF ensure it sustainably meets both its fire and non-fire responsibilities.

Systematic process for business improvements needed

As fires have increased in recent years, so have the complexity and number of financial transactions associated with suppressing those fires. Today, ODF has systems in place to collect and assess process improvement suggestions, but some are fragmented and incomplete. We found that sometimes suggestions were not fully reviewed and/or implemented, and decisions were not made or communicated.

A better system that fully reviews, implements and communicates decisions made could help ODF address its increased workload by reducing unnecessary costs and inefficiencies. It could also help to improve the alignment between existing resources and program objectives and priorities.

Evaluation of prevention and detection efforts can be improved

ODF takes some proactive steps to prevent and detect wildfires, but the agency does not systematically evaluate the costs and relative effectiveness of different strategies. Evaluating these strategies could help ODF focus its resources on the most cost-effective strategies to keep suppression costs and wildfire damages low. Better information about the money and staff time spent on different prevention and detection activities and fire causes could aid this evaluation.

More work needed to mitigate wildfire risks and target strategies

ODF3

Fuel Reduction. Photo by Oregon State University, CC BY-SA

ODF, private landowners, and federal agencies work to reduce wildfire risks posed by the accumulation of small trees and vegetation in forests resulting from decades of fire suppression, land use changes, past land management practices, and other factors. Despite these efforts, there are millions of acres of land in Oregon in high wildfire risk areas across all ownerships, including federal, state and private lands. Some of this land is highly important to our water supply. The resources currently dedicated to mitigation work are unlikely to meet this challenge. To reduce wildfire risks, some of these areas may need treatment through methods such as prescribed burning, thinning, or removal of forest underbrush in forests and around homes.

Recommendations

This audit recommends ways ODF can build on its current efforts and accomplishments, and make improvements to address current and future challenges. Our detailed recommendations for ODF management are included on Page 31. They include recommendations for collecting and analyzing better information on fire impacts and costs, developing a systematic, future oriented workforce planning process, and enhancing the agency’s business improvement process. We also recommend actions for ODF to improve wildfire prevention, detection, and mitigation efforts.

Agency Response

The agency agrees with the report findings and recommendations. The full agency response can be found at the end of this report.

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Oregon Youth Authority: Female Youth Offenders Need More Transition Options

Executive Summary


Transition services for female youth in state custody lag behind those available to males.  The Oregon Youth Authority (OYA) has opened a transition pilot program for female youth, but funding has only been allocated through mid-2017.

OYA and counties show an interest in improved program reporting, but county program reporting is still inconsistent and incomplete.  Without an accurate picture of program participation, it is difficult to evaluate program effectiveness or forecast service needs for the juvenile justice system.

Read the full report

Female youth are a growing share of the juvenile justice population

Female youth, including both adolescent girls and young women age 16 or older, are a growing portion of the juvenile offender population in Oregon.  While overall youth referrals to juvenile departments have declined since the early 1990s, the decline has been much steeper for male youth offenders.  Referral rates for females have remained comparatively steady.  As a result, the proportion of statewide referrals for female youth in Oregon rose from 33% in 2000 to 37% in 2014.

Female youth have unique treatment needs

sad-teenage-girl-her-worried-mother-problems-49148369Female youth in juvenile justice tend to have more acute physical and mental health needs, and three times as many female youth in OYA custody have attempted suicide as their male counterparts.  A substantial number report previous sexual, physical and emotional abuse, for which they have received little, if any, treatment.  Female youth also tend to respond to untreated trauma differently; they are more likely to run away, and less likely to engage in more criminal acts.  As a result, female youth sometimes do not receive appropriate treatment until their behavior lands them in the juvenile justice system.

Young women in Oregon Youth Authority custody do not have equitable transition services

Three permanent, stand-alone transition facilities for male youth offenders are operated by OYA, but the state does not currently operate an equivalent stand-alone program for female offenders.  OYA has a dedicated building for a female transition program, but has been unable to secure funding to run the full program.  The building had not been used for its intended purpose since its construction in 2010.  OYA opened a transition pilot program in the unused facility in November 2015.

Female youth transition facility near Oak Creek YCF

Female youth transition facility near Oak Creek YCF

Previously, Oak Creek Youth Correctional Facility had hosted a limited female transition program within the custody facility. But this arrangement did not allow participants in the program to partake fully in community activities, and taxed staffing resources needed to run Oak Creek.  Should the pilot program not be permanently funded following the trial period, it will have to be moved back to Oak Creek.

Community facilities that provided services to female youth also recently closed, creating a gap in available treatment options.  OYA currently reports on gender disparities as part of its budget request, but a standalone report on gender equity could draw more attention to gaps that should be addressed.

Need for better county program and service tracking

Due to the lack of comprehensive county program data, we were unable to draw system wide conclusions about the effectiveness of treatment and programming for female youth in the juvenile justice system.  Without a clear picture of what programs are being used and how appropriately services are matched with female youth offenders’ needs, it is difficult to evaluate program effectiveness or accurately forecast service needs for the juvenile justice system.

comp2Less than a quarter of Oregon counties report documenting all youth program participation in the Juvenile Justice Information System (JJIS).  Of the county files we reviewed, over half of female youth offenders’ program participation was not documented in a form that can be extracted and analyzed.  This means that the program data reported in JJIS for both female and male youth offenders is incomplete and inconsistent, and cannot be used to analyze trends or inform program evaluations or statewide policymaking decisions.

OYA and county juvenile departments are responsible for comprehensive and accurate program reporting.  However, program reporting is a relatively new function in JJIS, and counties are only required to report participation in state-funded programs.

Recommendations

We recommend:

  • OYA work with the Legislature to seek ongoing funding to operate the Young Women’s Transition Program beyond the pilot period and ensure adequate community services for female youth;
  • OYA consider creating a regular, standalone report to identify and address disparities between transition programming for male and female youth;
  • OYA and county juvenile departments work together to delineate what program information should be captured in JJIS and help ensure that program information is entered consistently; and
  • OYA and county juvenile departments work together to further identify and resolve existing barriers and restrictions to program data entry and collaborate on finding ways to improve program reporting.

Agency Response

The agency coordinated its response with the Oregon Juvenile Department Directors Association, and together they generally agreed with our recommendations.  They intend to work collaboratively to resolve program data entry barriers and help ensure program information is consistently entered into JJIS.  OYA will also pursue ongoing funding for the Young Women’s Transitional Program.  The full agency response can be found at the end of the report.

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Teacher Standards and Practices Commission: Better Oversight and a More Productive Work Environment Could Improve Service to Educators

Executive Summary


Commissioners, management and staff at the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission need to work together to strengthen the agency’s work environment, increase accountability, and boost performance.

The agency has made recent improvements in service to educators. But it still faces substantial backlogs in issuing licenses, investigating complaints against educators, and responding promptly to educator questions.

Our audit responds to House Bill 3339, which the Legislature passed in 2015. It required a Secretary of State audit to examine the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission and recommend improvements.

Read the full report.

The Agency and Commission Play a Major Role in K-12 Education

The agency licenses about 19,000 educators a year.

The agency licenses about 19,000 educators a year.

The agency, with 26 employees currently, licenses about 19,000 K-12 educators a year. It also evaluates education programs for teachers at Oregon colleges, and investigates hundreds of complaints against educators each year.

A 17-member commission, appointed by the Governor, oversees the agency. The commissioners, mainly teachers and school district administrators, hire and supervise the executive director.

The Commission sets important policies, including requirements for teacher licenses. It approves teacher education programs, and decides whether to sanction educators for misconduct.

Delays in Core Services are Substantial

For many years, the agency has had substantial delays in issuing licenses, completing investigations and responding to educator questions.

Applicants who filed for licenses in July 2015 faced a four-month wait. Investigation lengths averaged more than 14 months in 2015. Response times to emails from educators have improved, but still average more than a week.

The licensing and customer service delays can damage the agency’s reputation, complicate school district hiring and make it harder on educators looking for jobs. In 2015, more than 1,400 applicants or their school districts paid $99 extra for “expedited” service to bypass licensing delays.

In investigations, delays and high caseloads can weaken evidence and increases the risk to of educator misconduct continuing. Investigative delays can also hurt educators’ job prospects, frustrate complaint filers, and reduce investigative depth.

Cuts to management and staff during the recession contributed to the delays. In 2012, the agency cut six positions. Licensing staff had no direct manager for nearly two years and investigators faced high turnover and high caseloads.

Also contributing to delays: the agency’s complicated, paper-based licensing system, and an inadequate agency website that does not provide answers to basic licensing questions.

The Agency and Commission Need a Sharper Focus on Performance

In 2015, the Oregon Legislature approved license fee increases – the first in 10 years. The increase will allow the agency to add four new positions and replace its outdated licensing system. Starting in early 2016, applicants should be able to file applications and pay online. The Commission also finished a three-year process of simplifying license requirements.

Some improvements are already apparent. Average call hold times fell to less than five minutes last summer, down from 30 minutes in 2014.

tspcpic2Investigators are testing a case triage system that could help reduce investigation lengths. The simpler license requirements and new licensing system should also help improve licensing speeds.

However, we found that the agency still lacks clear expectations and accountability for its performance at all levels, from the Commission through staff.

Evaluations are sporadic, including the Commission’s evaluation of the executive director. Performance tracking is limited. Management’s focus on work process improvement is minimal. Tensions between management and staff have also been substantial, affecting agency performance.

The fee increase will provide for a more stable financial position and help improve staffing. These improvements should allow the agency to focus on building a more productive workplace at all levels, one of its most significant tasks going forward.

Recommendations

Our specific recommendations for management and the Commission are included on pages 25 to 27 of the report. We made recommendations to improve licensing, investigations and customer service.

For management, we also made recommendations to improve the agency’s work environment, such as improving communication, developing performance standards, and providing timely feedback on employee progress.

For the Commission, we made recommendations to improve oversight and accountability. Among them: developing goals for the executive director that include reducing the agency’s backlogs, and conducting regular evaluations based on those goals.

Agency Response

The agency and Commission generally agreed with our recommendations and said they are already addressing some of them. The Commission will prioritize resolving backlogs in licensing and investigations, the response said, and implement changes to improve agency oversight, enhance transparency and increase effectiveness. The full response is at the end of the report.

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Audit Release: Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife Needs a Comprehensive Management Strategy to Prioritize Workload and Plan for the Future

Executive Summary


Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has focused on short-term goals, but recurring budget shortfalls have made it difficult for the agency to accomplish everything within its mission. Today’s challenging environment requires ODFW to focus efforts by establishing a comprehensive management strategy, including a long-term plan for how to sustain operations.

 

Read the full report.

Growing challenges need long-term strategy

Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, like other natural resource agencies across the nation, is facing difficult challenges.  Expenses are growing and outpacing revenues.  Responsibilities are expanding.  Fish and wildlife management has an increased workload to protect species and enhance habitats.

As pointed out in our previous audit (ODFW Financial Condition Review, Report No. 2015-09), ODFW’s temporary funding solutions have not addressed its rising expenses and recurring budget shortfalls.  For example, the agency cut positions, including some vacant ones, and has deferred maintenance year after year.  Staff are stretched across growing workloads, and millions of dollars in capital projects will be required for fish hatcheries and other facilities to maintain current operations in the future.

Oregon has had difficulty with its efforts to increase resources.  Commercial fishing fees have not increased since 1989 to help fund the fish Restoration and Enhancement program.  In recent years, measures to increase wildlife conservation funding have only met a small fraction of the need.  The steady decline of hunters and anglers puts the future of reliable licensing revenues in jeopardy.  In 2015, a taskforce was established by the Oregon Legislature to explore alternative funding options for ODFW.

The widening gap between responsibilities and resources makes effectively addressing ODFW’s seven co-equal state goals unsustainable.  We heard numerous concerns that everything was a priority.  Field offices are struggling with their workloads due to rising expectations, lack of resources, and little strategic direction.

ODFWmarkerODFW owns and operates a large portfolio of capital assets.  These assets include hatcheries, field offices, wildlife areas, fishing ponds, and other properties.  Over the years properties have been acquired without a comprehensive asset planning and maintenance strategy.  As a result, some of ODFW’s properties are neglected.

ODFW has not done long-term, agency–wide strategic planning.  Agency leadership needs a comprehensive management strategy to provide clarity of the agency’s vision and expectations, and to guide the agency into the future.  This should include a holistic look at all of the agency’s responsibilities, so that it can set priorities given available resources.  This will help ODFW leadership be proactive in managing what they do and how they do it, better meet new challenges, and respond to additional federal and state mandates or directives.

In developing the management strategy, ODFW should pay particular attention to its practices related to internal communication, goal setting, alignment of workload to mission critical responsibilities and resources, succession planning, and calculating the full cost of service delivery and maintenance.

To more effectively achieve its mission, we recommend ODFW develop and implement a long-term comprehensive management strategy.  This should include a holistic process to identify key priorities and an alignment of workload and resources to the priorities (see Page 22 in the full report for the detailed recommendations).

Agency Response

The agency response is attached at the end of the report. ODFW generally agrees with our recommendations, and currently has efforts underway to address many of them.

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