Put the plan into action
During this stage the plan is implemented according to its timeframe. It is important that the plan be monitored throughout, using a variety of effective methods. These can include recording stock losses, recording sightings and signs of activity and keeping records of costs. Procedures for monitoring should have already been identified in Step 3.
Stakeholders should be clear about what will be monitored. While the preceding steps cover what type of monitoring is to be done, there should also be discussion about exactly what information must be collected, and why. Some issues to consider before monitoring begins include:
- Who is the information for and how will they use it?
- Who will gather the information?
- Who will analyse the information?
- What type of strategy will be put in place to ensure collected data are promptly fed back (eg to landholders or agencies) in an appropriate and useful form?
To effectively evaluate the success of the plan, you will need to take measurements while the plan is implemented. This is so that changes can be detected and quantified. For example:
Predation of livestock (record stock losses)
- doesn’t change
Wild dog abundance (record sightings and signs of activity)
- doesn’t change
Costs of managing the plan (draw a table of costs)
- labour and time
- other resources
Feedback is an important part of this stage. Data need to be promptly returned to stakeholders in an appropriate form and be accessible to all parties involved in wild dog management in your area. Suggested methods of feedback include:
- regular newsletters, printed and/or electronic
- a web site for group members
- use of maps in conjunction with reported data
Looking at wild dog management plans developed by other groups can help stakeholders decide upon what they need and how they would prefer to distribute it.
Evaluate the plan
Evaluating the plan using the monitoring results allows stakeholders to make an informed decision about the plan’s success and to identify any changes needed. Evaluation should involve all stakeholders to ensure their different perspectives are included. Some questions that need answers in order for the plan to be evaluated are:
- How well did the plan work? That is, were the objectives achieved?
- Which actions worked and why?
- Which actions didn’t work and why?
- Did the plan work within the timeframe? (consider extenuating circumstances)
- Should the timeframe be changed?
- What were the costs?
- Were there cost overruns or savings?
- Could money be better spent next time?
- Could the fieldwork be allocated more fairly or more appropriately?
- What changes/modifications can be made to make the plan work better?
Stakeholders’ responses to these questions should be discussed constructively and recorded. Remember, in the future, other people might want to know why a particular decision was made. Evaluating the plan forms the basis for improving the next one, so be thorough.
Modify the plan and monitor it
Agreed changes arising from the stakeholders’ evaluation must be incorporated into the revised plan. Consultation with and agreement by all stakeholders is still essential during this process. The results of cost monitoring can be used to prepare accurate budgets for the revised plan.
If the plan didn’t work well, it is important to go back through the process to identify omissions (based on new knowledge/experience) or parts that were not done as planned. Like a perfect plan conducted poorly, a flawed plan conducted perfectly will not yield the results stakeholders wanted.
Ultimately it is important to resolve why particular objectives and goals were not achieved. Was a perfect plan conducted poorly or a flawed plan conducted perfectly? In practice, reality is often somewhere between the two.
By answering the following questions, stakeholders might be able to decide why particular problems occurred:
- Were you able to measure the outcomes?
- Were your objectives not properly matched to your goals?
- Did you have unrealistic expectations?
Continuing to cooperatively implement, review and refine plans ensures those plans remain relevant and also increases the chances of ongoing success.
Guides to help develop a wild dog management plan:
- Have you got wild dogs? - Detecting the presence of wild dogs and their impacts: It is common for wild dogs to be present in an area but go unnoticed or unrecognised. No matter what colour […]
- Glovebox Guide for Managing Wild Dogs - The Glovebox Guide for Managing Wild Dogs is a general guide to managing populations of wild dogs in Australia.
- Guidelines for Preparing a Working Plan to Manage Wild Dogs (brown book) - These guidelines may be used to help stakeholders complete a working plan to manage wild dogs for any purpose.
- Working Plan to Manage Wild Dogs (green book) - This document outlines a six-step strategic approach to the management of dingoes and other wild dogs