Getting involved in the process
How you can get involved in the RAC & Wildlife Board public process
Utah's five Wildlife Regional Advisory Councils (RACs) were created by the Utah State Legislature in the early 1990s to get more public input from citizens at the grassroots level concerning wildlife management, rules and regulations. Each RAC is made up of 12 to 15 people who represent various interest groups or constituencies.
Do you have a question, idea or issue idea you would like the RACs to consider? Attend your local RAC meeting, fill out a comment card and speak out when your name is called. Check the schedule at this website to find out which meetings you want to attend. You can also contact RAC members by e-mail (see RAC members list). Remember, there is strength in numbers. If you really want to get the RAC's attention, ask others who share your ideas or opinions to come with you to meetings.
Regional Advisory Councils and the Wildlife Board follow similar meeting procedures. There is an agenda for each meeting and it is essentially the same for all RACs and the Wildlife Board. RAC chairs and the Wildlife Board chair conduct all meetings. Briefly, here is how the meetings go:
- After each agenda item is introduced (which usually includes a presentation and/or recommendation from the DWR) there are questions from the RAC and then questions from the public.
- After the questions, the RAC takes public comments from those in attendance.
- After the public input process, the RAC discusses each agenda item.
- After all questions, comments and discussion, the RAC votes on each agenda item which requires a vote.
The procedure is the same at Wildlife Board meetings, except that the Wildlife Board also gets a report and voting results from each of the RACs on each agenda item that requires it. The Wildlife Board usually votes the same way the RACs do. If not, the Wildlife Board chairman sends documentation to the RACs explaining why the vote was different.
The Utah Wildlife Board law
Nominating committee — Utah State code 23-14-2.5
There is a Wildlife Board nominating Committee which consists of 11 Members. This committee is appointed by the Governor from nominees by the:
- Agriculture industry
- Sportsmen's groups
- Non-consumptive wildlife interests
- Federal land management agencies
- Utah Association of Counties
- Utah Chapters of the Society of Range Management and The Wildlife Society
The nominating committee solicits nominees statewide and then submits them to the Governor, who makes the final decision regarding appointments to the Wildlife Board.
Creation, membership, terms, quorum, meetings — Utah State code 23-14-2
The Wildlife Board consists of seven members. The members shall have expertise or experience in at least one of the following areas:
- Wildlife management or biology;
- Habitat management, including range or aquatic;
- Business, including knowledge of private land issues; (and)
- Economics, including knowledge of recreational wildlife uses.
Each of the above areas of expertise shall be represented by at least one member of the Wildlife Board. Each appointment shall be confirmed by the Senate. Four members of the Board shall constitute a quorum. The director of the Division of Wildlife Resources shall act as secretary to the Board but shall not be a voting member.
Policy-making powers of Wildlife Board — Utah State code 23-14-3
The Division of Wildlife Resources may determine the facts relevant to the wildlife resources of this state. Upon determination of these facts, the Wildlife Board shall establish the policies best designed to accomplish the purposes and fulfill the intent of all laws pertaining to wildlife and the preservation, protection, conservation, perpetuation, introduction, and management of wildlife.
In establishing policy the Wildlife Board shall:
- recognize that wildlife and its habitat are an essential part of a healthy,productive environment;
- recognize the impact of wildlife on man, his economic activities, private property rights, and local economies;
- seek to balance the habitat requirements of wildlife with the social and economic activities of man;
- recognize the social and economic values of wildlife, including fishing, hunting,and other uses;
- seek to maintain wildlife on a sustainable basis;
- consider the recommendations of the regional advisory councils;
- If a regional advisory council recommends a position or action to the Wildlife Board, and the Wildlife Board rejects the recommendation, the Wildlife Board shall provide a written explanation to the regional advisory council.
The Regional Advisory Councils law — Utah State code 23-14-2.6
There are five Regional Advisory Councils (RACs). Each council consists of 12 to 15 members. The members include individuals who represent the following groups:
- non-consumptive wildlife
- locally elected public officials
- federal land agencies, and
- public at large (including business).
A list of nominees is submitted by the respective interest group or agency.
The executive director of the Department of Natural Resources, in consultation with the director of the Division of Wildlife Resources makes the final selections.
The councils shall:
- hear Utah Division of Wildlife Resources input, including recommendations, biological data, and information regarding the effects of wildlife;
- gather information from staff, the public and government agencies; (and)
- make recommendations to the Wildlife Board in an advisory capacity.