Tempest in a Violin Case- How Would You Reduce Duplication?

Don’t know if it’s a slow news period, the beginning of silly season (pre-election behavior) or both. Note: this post is not intended to open the floodgates of politician-bashing. It is intended to direct our attentions (and possibly, indirectly to the Administration and the Congress) to the question of “given our current economic climate, how can we best reduce costs and avoid duplication in federal land management and associated work?”

The President himself says that the government should not pay ($125 per year) for the Fiddlin’ Foresters website. All the details are found in this post at at Wildfire Today, including a link to the handy Waybackmachine site which apparently shows web content from the past.

Now the mission of the Fiddlin’ Foresters seem fairly important:

Through lively and entertaining musical performance, we provide conservation education, enhance employee morale and communicate the value of public service and federal land management in a new century of service.

The FFs attempt to improve morale (I can vouch personally for that) and call us to the importance of public lands through the arts. I personally think the FS would be a better place with more attention to morale and internal cohesion. I think the employee survey says something along the same lines.

But if you were to find the biggest budget buster and remove it, what would it be?

I have three candidates:

1. Recombine the federal land management agencies to reduce duplication. Or at least
2. Require BLM, NPS, FS and FWS to plan together where their jurisdictions are adjacent.
3. Stop handing out research funds to do the same thing to six or seven different agencies. For example, NSF, NOAA, the Forest Service, and USGS all appear to fund studies around what land managers need to know. Some funding goes to grants that scientists must apply for, and spend time developing. You have FS scientists writing grant proposals to get USGS funding and vice versa. There is no mechanism to avoid duplication, and the mechanisms to ensure that the products are useful are not all that clear. I wrote about them in the “Conveyor Belt” post here.

What are your thoughts?

6 thoughts on “Tempest in a Violin Case- How Would You Reduce Duplication?”

  1. First:

    Second:

    I think it is a pretty good idea to have a single federal agency to manage all of the lands and their resources, HOWEVER, I think it is Very Important to recognize the individualized management goals and objectives of each current management system, and continue those basic divisions via individual departments under a single agency.

    Of far more importance than a synthesis of planning efforts is a clear statement of goals and short-term objectives for each existing agency. What is the point of what it is they are currently doing or not doing? What is the cost for their management actions and/or decisions? THEN we can establish better planning objectives, put everything in quantifiable terms, and can cheaply and effectively monitor the types of results each agency accomplishes, and what the costs were for doing so. (Then put them all under one roof for continued comparative analysis and synthesis of duties purposes.)

    PS

    http://www.ORWW.org will proudly host the Fiddlin’ Foresters if FSEEE changes their mind or wants to share hosting duties.

    Reply
  2. Wow. The Fiddlin’ Foresters website is completely down and even Amazon doesn’t have a copy of “In the Long Run.” This group is pretty talented, has a message, and Jane Leche (from Washington State) has a great voice. Somebody needs to host a site and somebody needs to print some CDs for Amazon.

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  3. Thanks for the offer, Andy and Bob.. I too am a Jane Leche fan- note that she lives in Colorado right now (and works down the hall from me).

    For those of you who may not have heard her of other Fiddlin’ Forester tunes, try this YouTube of the Mann Gulch Fire Tribute.

    Someone in our office suggested that that the President’s snippet could be the best marketing the FF has ever had- “on the President’s IPod.”

    All those who have their own website or blog.. you might want to help out by posting an FF link. And you know.. this is a chance for all those fans to say “hey” and “thank you for everything you do” to the FF. Here’s Jane’s email: jleche@fs.fed.us

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  4. Here’s a couple more that could be taken down( if .mil costs the same as .gov).

    The Navy Bluegrass Band http://www.navyband.navy.mil/country_current_bluegrass.shtml
    The Army Bands http://bands.army.mil/webschedule.asp
    The Marine Bands http://www.marineband.usmc.mil/WHO_WE_ARE/index.htm
    The Air Force Bands http://www.usafband.af.mil/ensembles/index.asp
    The Coast Guard Bands http://www.uscg.mil/band/history.asp

    Here’s the mission of the Coast Guard Band:

    “Our Mission

    Promote public goodwill toward the U. S. Coast Guard and the country we serve
    Preserve and honor the heritage, traditions and history of our nation and the Coast Guard
    Perform for official functions, enhance pride within our service, and support Coast Guard recruiting activities”

    I suppose we could save exponentially more funding by combining…oh never mind.

    Reply

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