2023 Quarter 1: January-March update
The Alpine Lakes Collaborative recently onboarded several new members (in late 2022), which represents a new phase of the collaborative as it approaches a more fully formed group. In the first quarter of 2023, collaborative members in the active engagement tiers (in the ALC charter, active engagement tiers include those people who are most actively involved at a planning level) met monthly to get to know each other, hear updates from the working groups (to avoid siloing of efforts), and discuss important issues (e.g., proposed changes to the charter and topics that workgroups need wider input on). Members in the active engagement tiers represent 20 organizations total.
Highlights of the quarter include partner integration of several new people joining the ALC, and the execution of a workshop that introduced members of the ALC to the Visitor Use Management Framework. Read on for descriptions of the ALC workgroups, with updates of their progress and accomplishments this quarter.
Network Coordination Team Statement of purpose: The Network Coordination Team organizes the Network’s internal systems and structures to enable participants to share information and advance collective work. Team members establish and maintain network operations and logistics, support knowledge management, and assist network working groups. Network coordinators are specifically identified as people/organizations with specific coordination roles, such as project management or convening. Q1 23 update: The Network Coordination Team has a lot of ongoing work which includes meeting monthly to plan the monthly Network meeting, general administration/organization of project files and facilitating connections across workgroups. In addition to the ongoing work there were some specific projects tackled this quarter. A large chunk of January was focused on one-on-one integration meetings. These meetings were with partners who self-identified as one of the active engagement tiers from the charter (“Lead” or “Partner”). The purpose of these meetings was to allow partners joining ALC to have a space to ask any questions of the Project Manager that weren’t answered in the fall briefing and join any workgroups if they had interest and capacity. The ALC Project Manager helped the FS apply for grant funding to expand on the University of Washington's visitor use data collection. Mount Baker Snoqualmie NF gave the presentation for the Recreation & Conservation Office NOVA grant funding on 3/2. This funding would expand on UW's visitor use data collection and modeling work. The funding would allow ALC to develop and evaluate different management scenarios that consider the potential outcomes and tradeoffs of management strategies on the ground. For example - what happens if we limit parking at some trailheads or expand it at others? How would visitation patterns change? What other outcomes might we see for wildlife or vegetation recovery? Big thanks to those who helped put the application together and present. That being said, it's a very competitive grant and the scores released from RCO indicate we will not receive funding.
Communications Workgroup Statement of purpose: Facilitate the communication of the progress, challenges, and general happenings of the ALC to people both internal and external to the ALC. Priority tasks include developing and updating the ALC webpage, working with public affairs officers within the Forest Service to effectively communicate the ALC work through USFS channels, and field media requests. Q1 23 update: developed general content for the ALC webpage (overview, links to recording, email sign-up form) and Q1 updates. The communications workgroup has several aspirations, but is currently seeking leaders and partners to drive the group forward.
Design Workgroup Statement of purpose: The design workgroup was tasked with Charter design and development. The charter captures the Network’s broad purpose, and outlines initial agreements about how we plan to work together. It includes guidance for voting when needed and description of the different engagement tiers partners self-identify as in the project. Work developing the charter mostly took place in 2022 ahead of the fall 2022 outreach to partners to join the ALC. Q1 23 update: No work in 2023
Forest Service Advisory Team Statement of purpose: The Forest Service Advisory Team provides input and recommendations as needed to the ALC Network based on applicable agency law and policy that is relevant to the project. The Team actively shares information and facilitates communication between the Okanogan-Wenatchee and Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forests, Regional Office, and Enterprise Programs to ensure consistency in and shared understanding of leaders’ intent, objectives, and outcomes for participation in the project and network. Informal monthly meetings occur before monthly Network meetings to discuss and comment on timely ideas, issues, concerns, and other pending items relevant to the ALC Network. Q1 23 update: In addition to the informal monthly meetings, available members of the Forest Service Advisory Team have worked to develop capacity support for the project which includes the Enterprise, Presidential Management Fellows, and Conservation Finance programs. Enterprise support The Enterprise program offers specialized on-demand capacity support to Forest Service projects. In 2022, the Forest Service successfully submitted a competitive proposal for obtaining the support of the Enterprise program’s participation in the ALC project. Enterprise support for the ALC comes in the form of a meeting facilitation, technical expertise in Visitor Use Management, and internal Forest Service communication products about the ALC project. The meeting facilitator and technical expert started in 2022 and the development of the internal communication products started this quarter. The current agreement with the Enterprise program goes until August 2023. Conservation Finance support The Conservation Finance program develops innovative finance models that engage private capital by creating investment opportunities that align environmental, social, and financial outcomes. The FS submitted a proposal 3/6 to fund a conservation finance feasibility study for ALC that identifies a menu of funding and financing options, informs decision making on project viability, outlines potential payors, and provides a roadmap for implementation. ALC should hear back in the second quarter of 2023 if the study will move forward. Presidential Management Fellow support The Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) program is the Federal Government's flagship leadership development program for advanced degree holders. Its mission is to recruit and develop a cadre of future government leaders drawn from all segments of society. The work plan for the ALC PMF was finalized this quarter with the support planned for May 7 through September 23. This support will add capacity to the Conservation Finance, Visitor Use Management and Partner Engagement workgroups.
Fundraising Planning Workgroup Statement of purpose: The Fundraising Planning Workgroup will develop the Fundraising Strategic Plan. This plan will include: project priorities, potential fundraising bodies (parties who may engage in fundraising or fundraising assignment), project components including detailed budgets and in-kind contributions and copy to be utilized for fundraising, potential sources, and fundraising calendar. Q1 23 update: The Fundraising Planning Workgroup met for the first time this quarter. They reviewed the tasks and timeline for the strategic plan and agreed to reconvene in the spring to start work in earnest since capacity from team members was limited this quarter.
Knowledge Advisory Team Statement of purpose: The Knowledge Advisory Team has a primary responsibility for advising and supporting working groups with 1) best practices and relevant examples from other locations, 2) what is Known (and not known) in a given field of interest or practice, 3) data collection, analysis, synthesis, and modeling, 4) methods for public engagement and network’s deliberations. The Knowledge Advisory Team is comprised of content-matter experts, generally scientists and other recognized experts in a given field or practice, including traditional ecological knowledge held by indigenous people and scientists. Q1 23 update: The Knowledge Advisory Team paused activities at the beginning of 2023 in order to free up time for Team members to provide technical support to specific efforts through participation in working-groups (primarily the Design, Partner Engagement, and Visitor Use Management workgroups). No work this quarter.
Partner Engagement Workgroup Statement of purpose: The Partner Engagement Workgroup discusses participation and inclusion in the collaborative, furthering initiatives related to the ALC's Visitor Use Management process or beyond to ensure a wide array of voices are included in this process. Q1 23 update: The Partner engagement workgroup continued to plan and inform the Alpine Lakes Collaborative workshops as well as debrief learnings from previous workshops. The group discussed opportunities to involve more voices and establish more inclusive methods of collecting Visitor Use Management information – conversations that will continue into Q2.
Visitor Use Management (VUM) Technical Workgroup Statement of purpose: The Visitor Use Management Tech Team works on the technical aspects of visitor use management and guides the collaborative’s work to implement the Interagency Visitor Use Council’s Visitor Use Management Framework. All team members have knowledge of the Framework and we work on how to adapt the framework to the specific situation of the ALC and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. This work leads to developing processes and content related to Visitor Use Management for the ALC network to work through, currently that's accomplished with the workshops being planned. Q1 23 update: This quarter, the Visitor Use Management Tech Team developed the Project Management Plan and presented a workshop on the Framework in February. The Project Management Plan outlines the group's projected timeline for moving the ALC through the Visitor Use Management framework. The workshop was to introduce the ALC to the framework with the goal that the Network would have an overall understanding of the steps that will be involved. Planning also started for Current Conditions workshops which will occur in Q2.