NMFS and USFWS should partner with other government agencies and universities to improve the quantitative skills of people who are involved in designing, reviewing, and implementing the projects and assessments that are generated under a comprehensive assessment plan. These efforts will be short term (e.g., recruiting quantitatively skilled experts, improving the quantitative skills of current personnel) and long term (e.g., improving quantitative training of students).
NMFS and USFWS should convene a working group to evaluate the permitting process for research projects and develop methods to expedite the process while meeting legislative requirements and intent. Participants should include representatives of the permitting agencies and research scientists. The review should weigh unintended consequences of permitting delays and lost research opportunities, should review the potential risks and benefits to the listed species of changing permitting requirements and procedures, and should assess the extent to which scrutiny of research permits has resulted in substantial take reductions.