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Plans Module

6.1. Overview 

6.1.1. What is the purpose of the Plans Module?

The Plans Module was created to link Fisheries Program activities to the overarching plans that guide our work, thereby establishing the broader fishery management context and rationale for these activities.  The Plans Module provides a catalog of basic plan information that enables the program to gauge progress and track implementation of specific plan tasks, through linking FIS projects (accomplishments) to plans and their tasks.  These linkages allow the Fisheries Program to report, annually, to FWS and DOI performance measures that gauge the extent to which the program contributes to the implementation of restoration, recovery, and mitigation plans. These linkages also assist with strategic planning and enable the program to assess outstanding needs associated with restoration, recovery, and other plans. 

6.1.2. What kind of information is captured in the Plans Module?

The Plans Module is a catalog of plans that the Fisheries Program works under, implements, and/or develops, such as Fishery Management Plans, Recovery Plans, and Mitigation Plans. The Plans Module captures "task level" plan information as a basis for tracking progress towards plan implementation.  . The Plans Module also captures information about plan status, task status, the species/populations targeted by the plan, and tribal benefit.  A plan citation and website link are also captured.

6.1.3. What types of plans should be added to the Plans Module?

Plans entered into the Plans Module should provide the broader fishery management context for Fisheries Program activities, and demonstrate partner/stakeholder involvement. Plans entered should be recognized by the fisheries management / science community. Plans should include specific tasks for implementing plan goals and objectives.

Station-specific, subordinate plans, such as HACCP plans, may also be entered into the Plans Module. While these plans do not constitute the broader, overarching management rationale for the work you do, they provide important management guidelines for producing quality work and achieving resource objectives. Station-specific plans should not, however, be referenced as “primary plans” in the FONS or Accomplishments Modules (they may be referenced as “secondary plans”).

6.1.4. Should the Fisheries Strategic Plan (or Regional Strategic Plans) be entered in the Plans Module?

The national Fisheries Program Strategic Plan should not be entered into the Plans Module.  All projects in FIS are linked to Strategic Plan Objectives (in the Projects Module, as part of annual accomplishment and needs reporting).  Regional “step-down” Strategic Plans may be entered at the discretion of the individual Regions.  It is the responsibility of the RO FIS Coordinators to enter and maintain these plans, if applicable.   

6.1.5. How is information from the Plans Module used?

The Plans Module is used in conjunction with the Accomplishments and FONS Modules to track implementation of tasks under various management plans. The Plans Module captures the baseline "denominator" for task-based Fisheries Performance Measures (such as the % of recovery plan tasks implemented). The Plans Module also provides information for managers regarding progress towards implementing high priority plans, along with outstanding needs, and provides a tool for program analysis (e.g. analysis of plans and plan types under which current work is focused).

6.1.6. What are the roles and responsibilities for this module?

Regional Office:

  • Reviews (approves, denies) plans proposed to be added to FIS
  • Enters basic plan information (plan name and plan type) and  assigns “Plan Expert” to enter and maintain plan details (for approved plans)
  • Coordinates designation of the Plan Expert when the plan applies to more than one Region w/appropriate Regional FIS Coordinator(s)
  • Provides overall QA/QC for Regional Plans.

Plan Expert:

  • Enters, coordinates, reviews, and maintains current information on a given plan in the Plans Module.
  • Reviews and implements (as appropriate) plan edit requests from other Project Leaders or the RO in a timely manner.

6.2. Create a new Plan Page (Home Page)

6.2.1. Who may create a new plan in the Plans Module?

Only a  FIS Coordinator may approve and enter a new plan into the Plans Module. If you need to have a plan entered into FIS, first email your Regional FIS Coordinator, who will determine whether the plan should be entered into the Plans Module, enter basic plan information (Plan Name and Plan Type) and then designate a Plan Expert (which could be the requesting facility) to fill in detailed plan information.

6.2.2. What is a Plan Expert and what are the Plan Expert’s responsibilities?

A plan expert is a FWS biologist, assigned by a FIS Coordinator, as responsible for entering, coordinating, reviewing, and maintaining current information on a given plan in the Plans Module. The plan expert is also responsible for reviewing and implementing (as appropriate) plan edit requests from other Project Leaders or the RO in a timely manner.

6.2.3. If a plan is relevant to more than one Region, is there still just one plan expert for the plan, and who assigns the Plan Expert?

For cross regional plans, FIS Coordinators from the respective Regions will coordinate the designation of the Plan Expert.

Tip: In the “Plan Home” page of the Plans Module, the Regions that have referenced the plan in one or more projects are designated at the top of the Plans Module home page.

6.2.4. Should I use a particular convention (such as omitting the word “the” when I enter the Plan name?

The plan name should be entered according to citation information in the plan. If no information is available in the plan, use the exact Plan Name found on the plan title page.

If the plan is in preparation (i.e. a draft plan), use the most current name for the draft document.

6.2.5. How do I determine which “Plan Type” to choose? 

The FIS Coordinator typically designates the plan type when first entering the Plan in FIS.  If you are the plan expert, and the plan type has not been designated, you will choose the plan type that best describes your Plan from a drop down list of multiple plan types. Plan types are rolled-up for performance measure reporting under three “Plan Type” categories, as follows:

Fishery Management Plan – Plans under this category benefit non-T&E species (information rolls up to Performance Measures that fall under Aquatic Species Conservation and Management in the Fisheries Strategic Plan and to Sustaining Biological Communities: Non-T&E under the DOI Strategic Plan).

  • Includes plans types: Fishery Management Plan, Agreement/Policy, AIS-Rapid Response Plan, AIS-Species Management Plan, AIS-State/Interstate Mangement Plan, Comprehensive Conservation (NWR), Comprehensive Hatchery Management, Integrated Natural Resource Management, Legal Mandate, Restoration, Service Ecosystem, Terrestrial Management, Watershed.
  • Does not include Mitigation Plans for non-native species.

Mitigation Plan - Plans under this category are associated with mitigation (information rolls up to Performance Measures that fall under Public Use in the Strategic Plan).

  • Includes plan type: Mitigation
  • Mitigation Plans are not tallied under Fishery Management Plan performance measures.

Recovery Plan – Plans types under this category benefit federally listed species (information rolls up to Performance Measures that fall under Aquatic Species Conservation and Management in the Fisheries Strategic Plan and to Sustaining Biological Communities: Recovery under the DOI Strategic Plan).

  • Includes plan types: : Recovery Plan and Biological Opinion

Other - “Other” plans consist of subordinate, station-specific plans, such as HACCP plans that do not constitute the broader / original management rationale for the work you do, but are none-the-less important management tools for producing quality work and achieving resource objectives.

6.2.6. Should I use a particular convention when entering Plan Evidence?

Yes. Enter the full plan citation, using the American Fisheries Society (AFS) citation convention, as follows (from AFS Publication Style Guide):

AFS publications use the author date or “Harvard” system for references, with brief parenthetical citations in the text and full references in an alphabetical list at the end:

Gorman, O. T., and J. R. Karr. 1978. Habitat structure and stream fish communities. Ecology 59:507−515.

Mills, D. H. 1989. Ecology and management of Atlantic salmon. Chapman and Hall, London.

6.2.7. How do I determine the Plan Status? 

Plans should be described as "Approved and Current" if they contain relevant tasks, up to date timelines, engaged partners, and are generally recognized as an approved and current document by one or more resource agencies.

Plan should be described as "Approved but Needs Revision" if plan tasks are no longer relevant and timelines are obsolete.

Plans should be described as "In Preparation" if the plan has not been finalized (any plan or plan update in draft status).

6.2.8. Am I required to enter information into the Plan Website field?

The plan website provides a useful link and resource for field offices and managers.  If a plan website exists, enter the website URL.

6.2.9. When should I describe a plan as Tribal (and check the box provided). 

A Fisheries Management Plan or other plan type should be additionally described as “Tribal” if the plan also provides significant benefits to Tribal resources or people.

6.2.10 A new plan was created in FIS and my station is the plan expert. Why doesn't the plan appear in the plan-pick-list in the projects module within activities?

Even if a station is designated as plan expert, the plan still must be added to the station profile to appear in the pick-list within activities. To do this, click on the "Stations Profile" module and select "edit your station's plans list", then select the new plan from the drop-down list to add it to your station's profile."

6.3. Delete a Plan

6.3.1. May I remove a plan from the Plans Module?

No. You should contact the Plan Expert or your Regional FIS Coordinator if you believe a plan should be removed from FIS. Removing a plan requires removing information links with other FIS Modules.

6.3.2. What is the role of the Plan Expert when removing a Plan from the Plans Module?

The Plan Expert should first email their Regional FIS Coordinator with a request to remove the Plan along with a brief rationale.

Additionally, before a plan expert may delete a plan from the plans module, the plan has to be de-referenced from any Accomplishment or FONS project with which it is associated. This requires coordination between the plan expert and the owners of the referring projects.

6.4. Edit an Existing Plan: Plan Details Page

Tip:  For Rules regarding Plan Type, Plan Status, Web Site, and Tribal Modifier, see Creating a New Plan

6.4.1.  What does “work performed on the Plan” refer to?

The plan expert should report any activities associated with plan development and writing of the plan that was conducted by  FWS personnel (not just the plan expert).  Please report 1) if the plan was completed during the fiscal year, 2) if the plan was developed (writing occurred), but not completed, in the fiscal year, or 3) no work was conducted in fiscal year.

6.5. Edit an Existing Plan: Species Affected Page

6.5.1. Am I required to list both the species and population that the Plan benefits?

You may enter a both a primary and a secondary species and population. Population level information is not necessary if the plan does not include it. If the plan benefits multiple species (equally), you may choose “multiple species.” You should also include any nuisance species managed by the plan.

6.6. Edit an Existing Plan: Tasks Page

6.6.1. Do I list all tasks contained within a plan?

No. Only list tasks for which there is a specifically designated or potential FWS role. List the most specific level of task(s) found in the plan.

Example: "Rear and release 200,000 yearling coho smolts for release in the Methow River as part of the Yakama Tribe's upper Columbia River coho restoration program."

6.6.2. Should I use a particular convention when describing the task numbers?

Use the same task # found in the plan. If there are no “tasks” use the numbering associated with the corresponding term (activity, requirement, objective, etc.). In Recovery Plans, numbered tasks are found in the “implementation schedule.”

6.6.3. What is the purpose of assigning a “task type” and how do I determine which “type” to choose? [AL6] 

Designating a task type allows for greater flexibility in conducting data queries and provides managers with information on the ways in which the Fisheries Program contributes to plan implementation (e.g.  via “science and technology development expertise, propagation, etc.).  Choose the task type that most accurately describes the activity.

6.6.4. How are "task types" defined?

Task types are defined as follows:

  • Cative Propagation/Production – Any task that involves or is related to propagation of fish or other taxon, as related to specific plan objective or goals.

Example:   Rear and release 210,000 Umatilla/Carson stock yearling spring Chinook in the Umatilla River as part of the Umatilla Tribe's restoration program.

Note: Tasks related to developing propagation techniques or technologies should be categorized as “Science/Technology Tasks.”

  • Stocking: Marking/Tagging Task - Any task that involves or is related to marking or tagging of fish or other taxon, as related to specific plan objective or goals. Evaluation activities, including tag recovery, should not be designated under this task type (see task type “Stocking: Post Stocking Survival”), when related to survival evaluation.

Example:   Finclip 90,000 Superior Isle Royale Wild lake trout yearlings with designated clip and stock into unrestored management units of Lake Superior, (Minnesota waters).

Science/Technology Task - Any task that involves, or is related to, conducting research or technology development as a basis for achieving specific plan objectives or goals.

Example:   Refine captive rearing methods, establish captive populations and produce Rio Grande silvery minnow populations for experimental purposes.

  • Stocking: Post Stocking Survival Task - Any task that involves or is related to evaluation of survival, as related to specific plan objective or goals.

Example:  Sample for adult American shad between Little Falls Dam and Great Falls during the spawning season to document the success of the fishway and the contribution of hatchery-reared fish to the spawning stock.

(Other task types include ANS, Assessment, Fish Passage, Habitat, Refugia, and Other (definitions provided in online Help and FIS Glossary).

6.6.5. What is the task "description"?

Describes task/work to be performed under the plan. It should be written exactly as it appears in the plan. It should also be as specific and measurable as possible.

Examples from current plans:

  • Implement biological opinion flow operations to provide water conditions beneficial to migrating juvenile and adult fish.
  • Design and implement a standardized monitoring program to assess the effectiveness of recovery efforts affecting bull trout habitat.
  • Produce 4 strains of lake trout for stocking in specific areas of Lake Michigan.
  • Stock lake trout of the following strains - Lewis Lake (LLW), Seneca Lake (SLW), Apostle Island (SAW), Isle Royale (SIW), Green Lake (GLW), and Lake Superior near shore (STW).

6.6.6.  How does the plan expert determine task status?

A task should be designated as “active” if the task is current and relevant to the plan.  Only active tasks will be visible for reference in the FIS Projects Modules (FONS and Accomplishments). 

A “completed” task is a task that no longer requires implementation.  Completed tasks are no longer considered as outstanding work and will not appear for referencing in the FIS Projects Modules.

An “obsolete” task is a task that is no longer relevant to the plan.  An obsolete task will no longer be considered as outstanding work and will not appear for referencing in the FIS Projects Modules.




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