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Wyoming Governor Matt Mead launched the Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative in 2015 in his capacity as Chairman of the Western Governors’ Association (WGA).  Since then, the Initiative has helped states share best practices in species management; promoted and elevated the role of states in species conservation efforts; and explored how to improve the efficacy of the Endangered Species Act. The Initiative has entered its second year, during which WGA will host a series of Work Sessions and Webinars to expand on the bipartisan dialogue and refine key themes identified in year one. To support the Initiative, please contact WGA Director of Development Sarah Olsen at 720.897.4540

Nov. 12-13, 2015: Cody, WyomingGov Mead Cody Workshop Keynote

The first workshop of the Western Governors' Species Conservation and ESA Initiative was held Nov. 12-13 at the Buffalo Bill Center for the West in Cody, Wyo. Gov. Matt Mead opened the workshop with a keynote address that noted the significance of wildlife in the West and urged participants to find the best way to employ state expertise to conserve it responsibly. (Watch the video). The remainder of the day featured a robust  conversation regarding species conservation and the ESA. Learn more on the blog or watch each session using the links below:

Gov Otter Boise Keynote RoomJan. 19, 2016: Boise, Idaho

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter urged participants at the Idaho workshop of the Chairman's Initiative to be "willing to engage, to listen to the other side's point of view." Gov. Otter, echoing comments by Gov. Mead when he launched the Initiative, lamented the low rate (1.3%) for delisting of species under the ESA since its creation 42 years ago and encouraged attendees to "come up with an innovative process through which we can resolve this issue." Other speakers at the workshop held at the Riverside Hotel in Boise included Gary Frazer, Assistant Director for Ecological Services at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Learn more on our blog or watch each session using the links below:

March 9-10, 2016: Denver, ColoradoGov Hickenlooper at Denver Workshop

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper hosted the Denver workshop on March 9-10, 2016. Gov. Hickenlooper offered opening remarks at the session, which also featured a keynote by Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, WGA Chairman. Gov. Hickenlooper said it was important for Western states to harvest their natural resources while protecting the native habitat. Gov. Mead, noting that legal challenges alone often keep species listed, said "Lawyers are winnning on the ESA. The question is: Are the species winning?"See the panelist presentation slides. Learn more on our blog and watch videos of workshop sessions using the links below.

April 7-8, 2016: Honolulu, Hawaii

Governor Ige at ESA WorkshopHawaii Gov. David Ige hosted the Honolulu workshop on April 7-8, 2016. Gov. Ige also  offered opening remarks at the session, in which he emphasized the importance of preserving his state's staggering array of species while also supporting the people who live on the islands. "It will take a great effort," said Gov. Ige, "to balance the needs of the species here with the needs of Hawaii's human inhabitants." Learn more on our blog or watch videos of workshop sessions using the links below.

Chairman's Initiative Launch Event

Gov. Mead formally launched his Chairman’s Initiative on Aug. 26, 2015, at the Gray Reef Access Area outside of Casper, Wyo.“The Endangered Species Act touches the people and economies of western states in a significant way,” Gov. Mead said. “This initiative is intended to take a hard look at the ESA."

Those interested in supporting or participating in the Initiative may send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..een successful and where are changes needed." Learn more