WS Decision Model
As per WS Policy Directive 2.201, WS’ personnel use the WS Decision Model (Figure 1) to determine the appropriate damage management method(s) to implement based on several factors (i.e., 1) species responsible, 2) magnitude, geographic extent, frequency, historical damage and duration of the problem., 3) status of target and non-target species, 4) environmental conditions, 5) potential biological, physical, economic, and social impacts, 6) potential legal restrictions, and 7) costs of damage management options). WS personnel give first preference to nonlethal methods that will stop the problem first per WS Policy. They also consider the costs associated with implementing a particular method(s), but also consider other factors based on social values (selectivity and humaneness), legal factors, the species involved, etc. The goal of the WS program is not necessarily to conduct a program that is as cost effective as possible but rather to conduct a biologically sound, environmentally safe, and responsive predator damage management program in an accountable manner.
WS personnel are frequently contacted only after requesters have tried nonlethal techniques and found them to be inadequate for reducing damage to the requester’s satisfaction. WS personnel evaluate the appropriateness of strategies, and methods are evaluated for their availability (legal and administrative) and suitability based on biological, economic and social considerations. Following this evaluation, the methods deemed practical for the situation are formed into a management strategy. After the management strategy has been implemented, monitoring is conducted and evaluation continues to assess the effectiveness of the strategy.
In terms of the WS Decision Model, most damage management efforts consist of a continuous feedback loop between receiving the request and monitoring the results with the damage management strategy reevaluated and revised periodically.