3. Set Management Triggers and Actions

The management framework for each priority value in the Metlakatla CEM Program is built around a set of tiered management triggers, which are informed by a broad desired goal for the value and linked to a management action strategy. Tiered management triggers and actions provide leadership and managers with clear information about when and what kind of action will be taken to manage priority values.

Status Update

We set tiered management triggers and actions for 3 of our pilot values: butter clams, housing and FSC activity. We formed a Metlakatla CEM Working Group which included four Metlakatla members and four Metlakatla staff members from different departments. In 2017, the working group participated in a yearlong process through 7 full-day workshops to establish these triggers and actions. 

Tiered Management Triggers and Actions 

Broad Desired Goal, as decided by the Metlakatla CEM Working Group, represents Metlakatla’s long-term management goal for the priority value in the CEM Program. 

Tiered Management Triggers are a series of markers that reflect increasing levels of concern about the condition of a priority value. The triggers mark the points at which new or more intensive management actions are taken to restore or improve the condition of the value. 

Management Actions include activities, processes, strategies and/or policies that Metlakatla undertakes to maintain or restore a value’s condition. The actions are what will help bring the priority value back to a more acceptable zone. A management action strategy includes four types of values:

  • Prerequisite Actions: Actions that need to be implemented before the management framework can be initiated. For example, information or knowledge gathering.
  • Standard Actions: Actions linked to the standard management (green) zone are ongoing and reflect current management priorities, strategies and actions required to manage the value. For example, follow standard procedures or maintain routine monitoring. 
  • Enhanced Actions: Actions linked to the cautionary management (yellow) zone are taken when the cautionary management trigger is crossed. For example, convene a working group or implement mitigation actions. In some cases, offsets that benefit other values or are acceptable to the community can be implemented in lieu. 
  • Stringent Actions: Actions linked to the critical management (red) zone are undertaken when the critical management trigger is crossed. These actions are intended to quickly restore a value’s condition. For example, revise or implement new policy or restrictions. 

Metlakatla’s Approach to Management Triggers

Management triggers are widely recognized as an important part of an effective CEM framework. At its core, CEM is about managing priority values in the context of ever-changing development, natural changes and human activities. Management triggers support CEM by: (1) providing a direct link between assessment and monitoring information, and decision-making processes, (2) allowing decision-makers and community members to place limits on the amount of change that is considered acceptable for a value or resource, and (3) introducing a proactive and precautionary approach to monitoring and management. 

We believe that the process of setting management triggers and actions is one of social choice that is informed by the best available science, local and traditional knowledge, but grounded in a community’s values. The management triggers decision is also complex with high uncertainty and the approach requires an understanding of the community’s attitude towards risk and an open discussion of trade-offs. 

When setting management triggers and actions for priority values, the following key considerations were important for informing final choices:

  • Understanding Metlakatla’s values, concerns, and priorities as related to the value
  • Understanding the current condition and future trend of the value
  • Understanding the development context in the region by creating alternative future development scenarios to determine how values will be impacted
  • Understanding acceptability, risk tolerance and uncertainty for Metlakatla decision-makers and members
  • Understanding the implementation considerations of setting triggers and choosing actions
  • Identifying tools available to Metlakatla to restore or improve the condition of values
  • Figuring out what we can change and what we cannot change through management actions
  • Figuring out if community members are willing to adapt to changes or are being forced to adapt to changes in values

The key questions for setting tiered management triggers are: How do we represent Metlakatla values in terms of management zones and trigger levels? Where is that highly undesirable (no-go) zone for Metlakatla? At what level does Metlakatla start getting worried about the value?

The key questions for selecting management action strategies are: How do we link appropriate management actions to specific management trigger levels? How will we know whether an action or set of actions will be effective enough to bring a value back to a more acceptable zone?