The last Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) and Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) was approved in April 2004 covering a broad array of topics. In 2014, through a Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) grant, the two agencies were provided the opportunity to take a fresh look at roles, responsibilities and how to best work together. The two agencies hired The Langdon Group (TLG) to help facilitate the process.
Area workshops involving ITD District and IDFG Region staff were held in Moscow, Idaho Falls and Boise and included 22, 32 and 31 participants, respectively. Workshop participants also include representatives from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Local Highway Technical Assistance Council (LHTAC). The full-day workshops featured a morning session of fixed-topic, small-group discussions (Department Mission, Communications and Coordination, Staff Resources) and an afternoon session of “you select” small-group discussions (Data Sharing, Planning and Project Coordination, Road Kill, Wildlife Crossings). Discussion topics were determined through key stakeholder interviews conducted by TLG, with ITD and IDFG staff, and vetted through the joint Technical Advisory Committee.
The workshops featured a “World Café” process that allows for group discussions of 6-12 participants, each individually facilitated by the TLG team. The process encourages interaction amongst all participants with the goal of having conversations with everyone in the room. All attendees participated in the three morning session topics and in the afternoon participants selected two of the four topics that were most relevant to their job and interests.
Each session featured lively discussion and produced valuable insight and perspective. In total, the workshops produced 175 pages of flipchart notes and 7,800 words (Those words are represented graphically in the “Wordle” below. The size of the word represents the frequency of its use). Input ranged from general observations to specific MOU recommendations. TLG worked closely with the two agencies to write a new MOU that is reflective of the needs and interests of those individuals intended to benefit from it.