The Independent Multidisciplinary Science Team (IMST) was established by the 1997 Oregon Legislature via Senate Bill 924, signed by Governor John Kitzhaber on March 25, 1997 as Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 541.914 [formerly 541.409].
The Governor, the Senate President, and the Speaker of the House jointly selected the 7-member Team October 10, 1997 in accordance with Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 541.914 [formerly 541.409]. The establishment of the Team reflected the 1997 agreement between Oregon and the National Marine Fisheries Service concerning coho salmon. After the 1997 agreement was terminated, then Governor John Kitzhaber issued Executive Order 99-01, which 1) expanded the scope of the Oregon Plan and 2) specified the continued role of IMST in the recovery of wild salmonids in Oregon. During the 2001 Oregon Legislative Assembly, additional direction was given to the Oregon Plan and IMST through Senate Bill 945 which was signed into law and amended ORS 541.920 [formerly 541.365] and 541.898 [formerly 541.405].
As Team members have completed their terms of service, new members have been appointed jointly by the Governor, Senate President, and Speaker of the House.
The IMST operates under statute and guidance of the appointing authorities. IMST reports directly to the Governor's Natural Resource Office and the Subcommittee on Water of the House Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee (see Oregon's Legislative Committees). A brochure describing the general operations can be downloaded here.
IMST operations are described in detail in its Charter and Operating Procedures. IMST reviews the Charter and Operating Procedures periodically and last reviewed (and edited for clarity) the document on February 23, 2006. In addition to the Charter, the IMST has developed Guiding Principles to describe the professional responsibilities and expectations of IMST members and support staff.
In 2006, the IMST began discussions about how to voluntarily measure and report the Team's work efficiency. The IMST developed a performance framework based on general principles the Oregon Department of Administrative Services and the Oregon Progress Board have outlined for state agencies. The IMST's framework is not formally connected to any state reporting process or agency; the framework is strictly a voluntary and internal evaluation tool. The IMST will begin to use the framework in the July 1, 2007-June 30, 2008 fiscal year.
The IMST developed a conceptual scientific framework for the recovery of depressed stocks of wild salmonids in Oregon. This framework was originally developed as IMST evaluated Oregon's forest practices. Since then, it has been expanded to cover all land uses and fish management. Although not testable in a practical sense, IMST believes this conceptual framework is consistent with generally accepted knowledge and scientific theory.
The primary means of communicating results of the IMST's work to Oregon's Governor, Legislature, state agencies, and the public is through written technical reports and reviews. In technical reports, the IMST assesses the best available science as it pertains to salmonid and watershed recovery and the management of natural resources. IMST reports are addressed to Oregon's Governor, Senate President, and Speaker of the House. Reviews are addressed to the requesting agency or authority. Members of the public can learn more about IMST reports under development from our current projects page or by attending IMST public meetings.
Based on its assessment of science, the IMST makes recommendations to state agencies or entities in Oregon. Recommendations can be found at the end of each technical report and in several reviews. IMST recommendations are directed to State agencies or entities that have the ability to implement or to affect changes in management or regulation that are needed for implementation.
State agencies are expected to respond to IMST recommendations within six months after a report is issued. ORS 541.914 [formerly 541.409] states, "If the Independent Multidisciplinary Science Team submits suggestions to an agency responsible for implementing a portion of the Oregon Plan, the agency shall respond to the Team explaining how the agency intends to implement the suggestion or why the agency does not implement the suggestion."
Once agency responses are received, the IMST reviews the scientific adequacy of each response and if further action or consideration by the agency is warranted. The IMST's review of responses is forwarded to the Governor and the State Legislature.
When formulating recommendations, IMST looks beyond an agency's current ability to implement the recommendations because current legal, regulatory, or funding situations may need to change. It is the belief of the IMST that if an agency agrees that a recommendation is technically sound and would aid the recovery of salmonid stocks and watersheds, the agency would then determine what impediments might exist to prevent or delay implementation and work toward eliminating those impediments. IMST also assumes that each agency has the knowledge and expertise to determine how best to identify and eliminate impediments to implementation and to determine appropriate time frames and goals needed to meet the intent of the recommendation. In addition, IMST recognizes that an agency may already have ongoing activities that address a recommendation. Agencies may highlight these ongoing activities in their responses to IMST recommendations.