Case Study: California

R3 Organizational Summary

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) R3 leadership structure includes an executive R3 Task Force, statewide R3 coordinator, and an R3 Team. The R3 coordinator acts as the liaison between entities. The Task Force provides oversight and support to the R3 coordinator. They help address any high-level departmental challenges that arise and act as a springboard to ensure multiple divisions and branches policies, procedures and visions are incorporated into R3 work. The R3 coordinator assumes the bulk of R3 strategic development and coordination across the state. This position acts as a catalyst for statewide change and forward thinking. The coordinator manages external stakeholder and internal department R3 relationships to establish mutually beneficial outcomes, identifies and intervenes on potentially negative impacts on hunting and fishing, and drives the R3 team to turn barriers to participation into opportunities. The R3 Team assists in implementing the strategic goals of R3 efforts across the state. This includes collaborating with R3 stakeholders on creating marketing and outreach campaigns, managing human dimensions and licensing data analysis, program creation and implementation, technology modernization, public access and engagement, and more.

California case studyThe Plan

The California R3 Action Plan summarizes the process that CDFW took with engaging diverse stakeholders through a 6-month subcommittee process to determine how to best to move forward with R3 priorities. From this work, CDFW published a statewide R3 Implementation Strategy. This strategy contains specific, time-bound, measurable goals for all California R3 stakeholders, including CDFW.

Lessons Learned:

  • Unlearning what we think we know is one of the most powerful tools in creating change (Remember to ask often: If we know the answers, why are we in the position we are in?)
  • Securing agreement to leave personal agendas “at the door” in order to move forward with mutually beneficial outcomes for R3 participation is useful. Those who can’t are probably not well suited to drive statewide R3 work.
  • Securing buy-in and trust by empowering stakeholders to participate and take ownership is important for success.
  • Being rigid can be harmful to long term R3 goals. It’s okay and necessary to pilot different ideas, evaluate, make adjustments, and change course when needed.
  • Sticking to the way a program is delivered “because we’ve always done it this way” often creates exclusive environments and/or irrelevant messaging to be perpetuated.
  • It’s not only important to collect and analyze data on who is participating but also on who is not participating, if they’d like to, and why they aren’t so programs and services can be developed or modified accordingly

R3 Team

The R3 Team in California is made up of CDFW staff within the Office of Communications, Education and Outreach and the Human Dimensions Unit. However, this is not an accurate reflection of who is involved with R3 efforts across CDFW. Please refer to the figures in this document for a more thorough understanding of how California R3 engagement exists internally to CDFW. In addition to the R3 team, there are also non-R3 staff who, in collaboration with the R3 team, carry out specific R3 goals relevant to their specific branch/ division/region/program.

Lessons Learned:

  • When this team was initially formed, they were responsible for the initial efforts around securing stakeholder engagement, creating the action plan and implementation strategy for the department. However, once those things occurred, we quickly realized that this team was too narrowly focused and needed to be expanded to meet the needs laid out in the implementation strategy. As such, we are in the process of evaluating and reimagining the role of this team.
  • CDFW is a large department and R3 goals span many branches and programs. As a result, there is a need to establish “R3 POC work groups.” These work groups include one or more points of contact (POC) from various divisions, branches, regions and/or programs that address key R3 topics and are formed as needed and work with the internal R3 team.

R3 Summit

California did not hold an R3 summit to discuss R3 goals and objectives with stakeholders. Instead, we engaged in a rigorous 6-month process where 8 subcommittees, consisting of dozens of people, met bi-weekly to discuss specific R3 priorities. These subcommittees were made up of R3 stakeholders, both internal and external to CDFW, with rotating moderators. California intentionally created an inclusive space to participate, knowing that the level of R3 understanding, skill sets, and attitudes/beliefs would be extremely varied on each committee. This was to ensure that R3 efforts could identify varied perspectives, ethics, and to understand different relationships with how land and wildlife is used to hunt and fish. This also helped ensure that R3 goals would be mutually beneficial to all stakeholders involved before moving forward with a large public audience. For more information about this process, please see the California R3 Action Plan.

Lessons Learned:

  • Agency staff witnessed a huge positive shift in attitudes and behavior through the subcommittee process.
  • Agency staff should have spent more time recruiting stakeholder groups to the process. As the effort grew in popularity, organizations were disappointed that they didn’t know about it and found it difficult to join once committees had been working together for some time.
  • Communication is key! Managing many committees, who aren’t necessarily talking to each other, is difficult. A communications plan helped the R3 team maintain buy-in across subcommittees. This plan included two successful key components, 1) moderator meetings where committee moderators could check in with the R3 coordinator and with each other and, 2) a monthly subcommittee newsletter where subcommittees reported their work, the R3 team included CDFW progress on non-subcommittee R3 goals, and general R3 announcements and news was included.
  • People who volunteer to moderate aren’t always skilled and sometimes volunteer to press their own agenda. Don’t be afraid to step in to reclaim the conversation if it’s not useful to mutually beneficial outcomes.
  • It would have been helpful to have in person meetings to create community but because of how large California is, we conducted these meetings virtually.
  • Burn out can occur with longer processes and it was helpful to be clear upfront about the time commitment. We had 95% of those involved in the process stay involved until the end.

For additional California R3 resources click here.