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ESA Initiative

Sponsors

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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.

Work Session Series Sponsors

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Tri State Logo For Sponsors Page)

 

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Western Governors would like to thank the following partners for their support over the first year (2015-16) of the Species Conservation and ESA Initiative:

Initiative Sponsors
API / Colorado Petroleum Council
BP America
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Workshop Sponsors
Devon Energy
Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc.

Workshop Supporters
CropLife America
Idaho Power
J.R. Simplot
National Association of Home Builders
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)

Initiative Affiliates
American Public Power Association
Berkshire Hathaway Energy
Colorado Cattlemen’s Association / Colorado PLC
Idaho Office of Wildlife Conservation
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
Northwest Public Power Association
State of Idaho - Department of Fish & Game
Western Energy Alliance
Western States Land Commissioners Association

Initiative Funding also provided by:
State of Wyoming
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service

 

Chairman's Initiative

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Wyoming Gov Matt MeadWyoming 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. 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. 

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Latest News

Workshops

Gov Matt Mead in CodyGov. Mead in CodyWorkshops played an integral role in the first year of the Western Governors' Species Conservation and ESA Initiative. Participants from across the region shared best practices and engaged in a robust conversation regarding species conservation and the ESA. Workshops were held in Wyoming, IdahoColorado and HawaiiGov. Matt Mead spoke in Cody, Wyo., while Gov. C.L."Butch" Otter addressed attendees in Boise, Idaho. Gov. John Hickenlooper spoke at the Denver workshop, where he was joined by Gov. Mead. Gov. David Ige delivered a keynote at the final workshop in Honolulu, Hawaii. Find links to videos of all the speeches and panel discussion on the Chairman's Initiative Workshops page

Webinars

WGA recently hosted the webinar Collaborative Species Conservation in the Southeastas part of its series for year two of the Species Conservation and ESA Initiative. The webinar examined the role of trust and communication in species conservation efforts and the collective work of state, federal and industry partners to ensure the conservation of numerous species endemic to the southeastern U.S. Watch this webinar and find all of the webinars for the Initiative by visiting our Webinars page.

 

Resources

Trout Unlimited logoVisit this page to find best practices in species management, success stories and other news about species conservation.

The work of the Sage Grouse Initiative, Sand County Foundation, Trout Unlimited, Washington State Salmon Recovery Board and Idaho Fish and Game are just some of examples you'll find.

Support the Initiative

Learn about the Western Governors' Association Species Conservation and ESA Initiative by contacting WGA at 303-623-9378 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Workshops

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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

Webinars

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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.

Voluntary Species Conservation Incentives and Collaboration

This webinar highlighted the recovery of Black-footed Ferret in Colorado and Wyoming. The panel was moderated by Terry Fankhauser, Executive Vice President of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association. The panelists: Todd Heward, Wyoming Rancher; Pete Gober, Black-footed Ferret Recovery Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Ken Morgan, Private Lands Program Manager, Colorado Parks and Wildlife; Tom Dougherty, Western Division Staff Director, retired, National Wildlife Federation; John Emmerich, Deputy Director, retired, Wyoming Game and Fish.

Critical Habitat and Invasive Species

This webinar examined how critical habitat designations are influenced by invasive species. The panel was moderated by Chuck Bonham, Director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The panelists: Dr. David Sweet, Yellowstone Lake Special Project Manager, Wyoming Trout Unlimited; Matt Morrison, Chief Executive Officer, Pacific  Northwest Economic Region; Chris Crookshanks, Native Aquatics Staff Specialist, Nevada Department of Wildlife.

The Role of Conflict and Litigation in the Endangered Species Act

This webinar explored how litigation shapes the implementation of the Endangered Species Act and affects species conservation efforts. The panel was moderated by Michael Brennan, Director of the Wildlife Conservation and Mitigation Program at Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources. The panelists: John Leshy, Emeritus Professor, U.C. Hastings College of the Law, and Solicitor of the Interior Department, 1993-2001; Lisa Reynolds, Assistant Attorney General, State of Colorado; Jason Rylander, Senior Staff Attorney, Defenders of Wildlife; Douglas Wheeler, Partner, Hogan Lovells LLP.

Multi-Species Management and Desert Landscapes

This webinar used desert ecosystems to examine best practices for landscape-level species management, as well as the challenges of managing species with large habitat ranges. The panel was moderated by Matthew McKinney, Director, Center for Natural Resources & Environmental Policy, University of Montana. The panelists: Jim deVos, Assistant Director, Wildlife Management, Arizona Game and Fish Department; Bill McDonald, Executive Director, Malpai Borderlands Group; Alexa Sandoval, Director, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish; John Swett, Manager, Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program.

Empowering Private Landowner Conservation

This webinar highlighted the importance of private land in species conservation efforts, innovative ways to address conservation finance, and the incentives that work for private landowners. The panel was moderated by Chris West, Director, Rocky Mountain Regional Office of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The panelists: Amos Eno, Executive Director/President, Resources First Foundation; Jeff Morgheim, Founder and Principal, Edge Strategic Consulting, LLC; Lesli Allison, Executive Director, Western Landowners Alliance.

Collaborative Species Conservation in the Southeast

This webinar examined the role of trust and communication in species conservation and the collective work of state, federal and industry partners to ensure the conservation of numerous species endemic to the southeastern U.S. The panel was moderated by Cindy Dohner, Southeast Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The panelists: Jimmy Bullock, Senior Vice President, Forest Sustainability, Resource Management Service, LLC.; Todd Ewing, Supervisor, Aquatic Wildlife Diversity Program, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission; Mike Harris, At-Risk Species Coordinator, Southeast Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Gordon Myers, Executive Director, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission; Dr. Salem Saloom, Alabama landowner; Nick Wiley, Executive Director, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Get Involved with the Initiative

Learn more about opportunities to attend regional workshops and sponsor the Chairman's Initiative by contacting WGA at 303-623-9378 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Resources

ESA Website Resources Banner

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.

Above: See why state wildlife agencies have an unparalleled positive impact on wildlife conservation. Video created by the Information Branch of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Species Spotlight

graylingSpecies Spotlight is a case study series examining the challenges and opportunities in species conservation:

  • Learn how collaborative conservation led to a 'Not Warranted' ESA determination for Arctic Grayling in Montana (More).
  • Take a closer look at how partnership-driven conservation resulted in the Oregon chub becoming the first fish to be delisted under the ESA (More)
  • Learn more about the collaborative conservation actions and regulatory changes that helped recover and delist the American Peregrine Falcon under the ESA (More)
  • Extensive development in the California habitat of the El Segundo Blue Butterfly resulted in an "endangered" listing, but the butterfly has rebounded thanks to conservation work. (More)
  • Learn more about how collaborative conservation put the Columbian white-tailed deer on the road to recovery. (More)
  • Learn about the conservation agreement that kept the Graham’s and White River beardtongues off the ESA threatened list. (More)
  • Take a closer look at how proactive conservation efforts brought the Channel Island fox from endangered to recovered in record time. (More)

SGIlogo

Sage Grouse Initiative

The Sage Grouse Initiative has created a partnership of stakeholders working to conserve sage grouse habitat on ranchlands in 11 western states since its creation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service in 2010. More information. At a glance:

  • 1,129 ranches enrolled, conserving 4.4 million acres
  • 276,000 acres of invasive conifer removed across the sage grouse range
  • 2.6 million acres benefit from custom grazing plans designed to improve sage grouse nest success

WLFW LogoWorking Lands for Wildlife

Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) is a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service that provides private landowners and agricultural producers with technical and financial assistance to improve habitat for seven target species. More information. At a glance:

  • 729,000 acres of wildlife habitat were protected or restored in FY 2014 with a WLFW investment of $28 million
  • Lesser prairie chicken, New England cottontail, southwestern willow flycatcher, greater sage-grouse, gopher tortoise, bog turtle, and golden-winged warbler are target species

IWJF LogoIntermountain West Joint Venture

Intermountain West Joint Venture is a regional partnership of government agencies, non-profit organizations, corporations, tribes and individuals collaboratively working to protect priority bird habitats across 11 western states. The joint venture provides leadership and fosters collaboration to drive successful habitat conservation outcomes. More information.

Sand County Foundation

Sand County Foundation Logo for websiteThis non-profit organization works with private landholders across North America on voluntary land management practices that benefit the environment. The Foundation works with farmers, ranchers and foresters to improve the quality of their lands through science, ethics and incentives. More information. At a glance:

  • Provides support to private individuals and communities as primary agents of conservation and management.
  • Works to remove regulatory barriers and create meaningful incentives for landowners who enhance the environment.
  • Creates on the land examples of environmental improvement suitable for replication.

Trout Unlimited logoWestern Water Project

Trout Unlimited launched the Western Water Project in 1998 to restore healthy stream flows and habitat and now operates in California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The project partners with ranchers and farmers on pragmatic, on-the-ground restoration projects that illustrate how working landscapes and fish can coexist. More information. At a glance:

  • Works with ranchers, landowners and agencies to develop on-the-ground projects that restore and reconnect fragmented river systems.
  • Offers legal, scientific and project expertise to help ranchers achieve their stewardship goals.
  • Helped open up 500 miles of previously inaccessible habitat for native trout on the Blackfoot River.

Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership

Tern and Plover PartnershipThe Partnership has worked since 1999 to protect endangered Interior Least Terns and threatened Piping Plovers in Nebraska. Housed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and staffed by university employees, the program relies on the voluntary participation of sand and gravel companies that operate near the birds’ habitat. More information. At a glance:

  • Works to reduce the likelihood of conflicts between people and birds.
  • Bird population has increased steadily since the partnership's creation.
  • The partnership has helped local mining companies save an estimated $2 million in ESA violation fines.

Washington State Salmon Recovery Board

Washington Salmon Recovery BoardThe Washington State Legislature created the Salmon Recovery Funding Board in 1999 to provide grants for protection and restoration of salmon habitat. The board funds overall salmon recovery, including habitat projects and other activities that result in sustainable and measurable benefits for salmon and other fish species. More information. At a glance.

  • Began in the 1990’s after the federal government began listing Pacific Northwest salmon under the Endangered Species Act.
  • Composed of five state agency directors and five citizens appointed by the Governor.
  • Focuses on a community oriented “bottom up” approach to species conservation planning.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife Wetlands Program

Colorado Parks and WildlifeThe Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Wetlands Program preserves and restores state wetland habitat, benefiting at-risk species while expanding outdoor recreation and hunting opportunities. Funded primarily by Great Outdoors Colorado, the program funds habitat improvement on private and public lands. The state-provided funds are often used to leverage federal partnerships and funding, maximizing the program’s impact. More information. At a glance:

  • Benefits 15 at-risk species, including fish, birds, mammals, and amphibians that inhabit wetland areas
  • 220,000 acres of wetlands and more than 200 miles of streams protected or restored since the program began in 1997

Idaho Mule Deer Initiative

Idaho Fish and GameThe Idaho Department of Fish and Game developed the Mule Deer Initiative (MDI) in 2004 in response to declining mule deer populations across the state. The initiative protects and improves mule deer habitat to increase the population and improve hunter satisfaction. MDI provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners interested in improving mule deer habitat on their land. The Initiative is cooperatively funded by IDFG, Pheasants Forever, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Intermountain West Joint Venture. Improving thousands of acres annually, MDI is enabling landscape-scale changes in sage steppe, riparian, and quaking aspen habitats. More information.

Central Valley Habitat Exchange

Central Valley Habitat ExchangeThe exchange hopes to encourage investment in conservation and restoration of vital California Central Valley species habitat by promoting, monitoring and assisting in the exchange of habitat credits. A pilot program launching in 2016 will allow water and transportation developers to purchase credits from farmers who maintain habitat for Swainson’s hawk, Chinook salmon and riparian songbirds. More information. At a glance:

  • Enables private landowners to be paid for wildlife friendly agricultural practices.
  • Provides regulatory certainty for landowners and developers that fosters long-term buy-in for conservation.
  • A collaboration of public and private entities, including American Rivers, Environmental Defense Fund, Trout Unlimited, and California’s Departments of Conservation and Water Resources.