Land management decisions affecting threatened or endangered species are often based on literature reviewed by agency biologists or by the evaluation of empirical data by technical committees. Regardless, it is not often that research can address all of the issues that arise when developing management guidelines. Successful integration of research and management may depend on the effectiveness of technical committees assigned to the task. In the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) of western Montana, a technical committee was established to develop road access standards for public lands. As a member of this committee, I had the opportunity to observe committee protocol and internal dynamics as they affected committee performance and outcome. In this paper I briefly trace the history of road management in the NCDE and suggest improvements to the performance of interagency technical committees so they will better succeed in developing defensible management guidelines.
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Vol. 15 • No. 1