AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife wants to hear your ideas and opinions about Maine’s most popular wildlife and fish species.
Over the next month, the department will hold a series of statewide public meetings that will focus on moose, deer and turkey; bear, and freshwater fisheries. The meetings are designed to gather ideas and information from the public that will help shape wildlife management of these species over the next fifteen years.
“We want to hear from the public concerning some of Maine’s most popular species,” said Jim Connolly, IFW Director of Resource Management. “We’ve already conducted extensive public surveys, but this is your chance to provide additional input on the management of these species for years to come.
In addition to public meetings, IFW is creating a dedicated “Town Hall forum” at www.metownhall.org to provide a further opportunity for residents to voice their opinions on big game issues specifically (the forum will cover deer, moose, turkey, and bear issues).
Starting March 1, residents will be able to access the Town Hall forum website and leave comments and suggestions at www.metownhall.org. The website will stay live until March 31, at which point comments will be reviewed. Residents are encouraged to log onto the website during the month of March to submit responses to prepared questions as well as interact with one another in an exchange of opinions and ideas.
Throughout March and April, there will also be a series of public meetings around the state to hear people’s thoughts and ideas regarding species management.
There will be three public meetings that will focus specifically on bear management. The dates, time and location are:
Bear Management Public Meetings
o Wednesday, March 16 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Embassy Suites, 1050 Westbrook Street, Portland, ME 04102, Katahdin Room
o Wednesday, March 16 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Northeastland Hotel, 436 Maine Street, Presque Isle, ME 04769, Red Room
o Wednesday, March 30 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Black Bear Inn, 4 Godfrey Drive, Orono, ME 04473, Blue Room
There will also be three Moose, Deer and Turkey Management public meetings that will meet on the following dates and these locations:
Moose, Deer, Turkey Management Public Meetings
o Saturday, March 19 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.; Embassy Suites, 1050 Westbrook Street, Portland, ME 04102, Katahdin Room
o Saturday, March 19 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.; Northeastland Hotel, 436 Maine Street, Presque Isle, ME 04769, Red Room
o Saturday, April 2 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.; Black Bear Inn, 4 Godfrey Drive, Orono, ME 04473, Blue Room
Maine’s freshwater fisheries will be the focus at these locations on the following dates and times:
Fisheries Management Public Meetings
o Thursday, March 17 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Embassy Suites, 1050 Westbrook Street, Portland, ME 04102, Katahdin Room
o Thursday, March 17 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Northeastland Hotel, 436 Maine Street, Presque Isle, ME 04769, Red Room
o Thursday, March 31 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Black Bear Inn, 4 Godfrey Drive, Orono, ME 04473, Blue Room
o Tuesday, April 5 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.; University of Farmington, Lincoln Auditorium, 224 Main Street, Farmington, ME 04938
The meetings and online town hall are part of a larger study designed to assess priorities for bear, other big game, and fisheries management, including the issues residents see as important; their attitudes toward the current and desired population levels of various fish and game species; management techniques for these species; and any ideas for potential changes to the current management programs. Input from the public will help MDIFW to create the best management plans possible.
MDIFW contracted with Responsive Management, an internationally recognized public opinion research firm, to conduct the research for the state. Responsive Management is handling the facilitation of the public meetings as well as the administration of the Town Hall web forum. The firm has also conducted focus groups and surveys with Maine residents, hunters, anglers, and landowners as part of the research.
Maine residents may have received a call, email, or letter in recent weeks inviting them to participate in one of the scientific surveys conducted for the project. The next phase of the project calls for a wider opportunity for residents to submit comments and suggestions in an open-ended manner via the public meetings and web forum.
For more information about Responsive Management, please visit www.ResponsiveManagement.com.
For further information about the research study, please contact Nate Webb, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, at email@example.com.