Organization and Management of Endangered Species Programs

Tim W. Clark
Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, 301 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511 and Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative, Box 2705, Jackson, WY 83001
John R. Cragun
Utah State University, 2810 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322

Biologists involved in endangered species conservation are skilled in the scientific and technical
aspects of their work. However, it is equally important that they understand how to organize and
manage an effective endangered species recovery program, as well as participate in it. Organizations
are commonplace in society, but attention to their structure and function are often taken for
granted, especially so in species conservation efforts. People involved in recovery programs would
benefit from a clear understanding of how different organizational approaches can either hinder or
facilitate their work. Just as species live in environments, recovery programs exist within "task
environments" showing the properties of uncertainty, complexity, diversity and instability. Models
with significant uncertainty require a structure that allows for proper generation and management
of information throughout the life of the project. Bureaucracies are ill suited to this task, for example.
Therefore, the management process must include effective teams that are flexible, quick, and
based on a task-oriented and communicative approach. Planning within an effective team will
require continual reevaluation, analysis, and adjustment. Teams should not be formed using hierarchy,
reliance on rules, or many regulations. Therefore, it is important to have a leader who can
create a "team environment." A leader who is skilled in conflict management and can separate the
rationality, politics, and ethics involved in all efforts. Finally, teams must rely on explicit frameworks
for analyzing organizational problems, and making changes. Paying attention to the managerial
and organizational aspects of a recovery program can greatly improve the recovery record of
endangered species programs.