You are in the business of managing the public’s trust: The “trust” assets embodied by Idaho’s fish and wildlife – an ancient doctrine The “trust” the public has in you as professional resource managers – the modern imperative
What is it and where did it come from? What is the role of “government”? What is your role as a Department employee?
Certain natural resources – such as air, water, submerged lands, fish and wildlife – are held in “trust” by the government for the benefit of the public.
“By the law of nature these things are common to all mankind: the air, running water, the sea, and consequently the shores of the sea” From The Justinian Institutes, AD 529
From the Magna Charta… English Common Law Colonial Charters Declaration of Independence …to Massachusetts
Martin v. Waddell, 41 U.S. 16 Pet (1842) Justice Taney “…when the people of New Jersey took possession of the reins of government…the prerogatives and regalities which before belonged either to the crown or the parliament became immediately and rightfully vested in the state…” “…dominion and property in navigable waters, and in the lands underneath them [were] held by the King as a public trust…”
Illinois Central R.R. v Illinois, 146 U.S. 387 (1892) Justice Field ‘‘Every legislature must, at the time of its existence, exercise the power of the State in the execution of the trust devolved upon it.’’
Geer v. Connecticut, 161 U.S. 519 (1896) Justice White “The adjudicated cases recognizing the right of the states to control and regulate the common property in game are numerous.” “…the power or control lodged in the state… is to be exercised, like all other powers of government, as a trust for the benefit of the people...”
States Recognized as valid legal doctrine 41 Extended to resources other than navigable waterways 21 Discussed in relation to wildlife 15 Batcheller, G.R. et al The public trust doctrine: implications for wildlife management and conservation in the United States and Canada. Technical Review The Wildlife Society, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
Constitution Statute Clear statement of public ownership of wildlife 1 41 Clear delegation of Management responsibility 2 48 Mission and purpose appropriate to PTD 2 48 Accountability of trustees 2 39 Batcheller, G.R. et al The public trust doctrine: implications for wildlife management and conservation in the United States and Canada. Technical Review The Wildlife Society, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
Title 36 – Chapter 1 FISH AND GAME COMMISSION Wildlife property of state -- Preservation. (a) Wildlife Policy. All wildlife, including all wild animals, wild birds, and fish, within the state of Idaho, is hereby declared to be the property of the state of Idaho. It shall be preserved, protected, perpetuated, and managed.
Idaho Court of Appeals: “…the wildlife in our state belongs to the people as a whole in their collective, sovereign capacity and is treated as a common trust.” State v. Thurman 996 P.2d 309,316 (Idaho App. 1999)
Trustees Assets Beneficiaries Trust
Demand that trustees: Protect the corpus of the trust Consider their needs and interests Provide benefits from the trust : Consistent with the capacity of the trust and In consideration of competing interests
Origin and guardian of the Public Trust Doctrine
Legislature Governor Commissioners & Director
Maintain the corpus of the trust and its ability to provide benefits in perpetuity Consider the needs of all beneficiaries – both current and future generations Allocate benefits from the trust among competing interests
Monitor the status of the trust assets Identify potential benefits of the trust Inform trustees and beneficiaries of options Inform trustees of beneficiaries’ interests Facilitate dialog among beneficiaries Manage the trust as directed by trustees
ELECTED & APPOINTED OFFICIALS Fiduciary duty to the people Highest level policy decision-makers, including allocation of benefits Accountable to the people IDF&G PROFESSIONAL STAFF Ministerial and executive functions Recommend, but do not decide, policy unless delegated Accountable to appointed elected & appointed officials
Inform the trustees and public about the PTD Provide trustees and beneficiaries with comprehensive, objective analysis Be honest and direct with trustees and beneficiaries Resist the temptation to act as trustees
Public Trust Doctrine is Fundamental Foundation of the “North American Model” Spans the needs of all wildlife and all people Gives everyone a stake in wildlife Basis for broader public and financial support
Public trust in you is your most valuable asset Trust is easy to lose and hard to re-gain Keys to public trust: Honesty, openness, fairness – with all Reliability - meeting expectations
Public Trust in You is Essential With it…much is possible Without it, nothing is.