Western Governors' Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative in Denver by challenging participants to continue collaborative conservation work while looking for ways to improve the effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act.Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead kicked off the latest workshop of the
Gov. Hickenlooper, who hosted the two-day (March 9-10) workshop, said it was important for Western states to harvest their natural resources while protecting the native habitat.
Gov. Mead reminded attendees of the ESA's 1.4% success rate for species recovery, noting that often it was legal challenges alone that keep species listed. "Lawyers are winnning on the ESA. The question is: Are the species winning?"
The Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative is Gov. Mead's central policy effort as Chairman of the Western Governors' Association. The initiative creates a mechanism for states to share best practices in species management, promote and elevate the role of states in species conservation efforts, and explore ways to improve the efficiency of the ESA.
Following is a look at the other sessions held at the Denver workshop:
State & Local Government Leadership in Species Conservation Efforts: The panelists highlighted a variety of state-led species conservation initiatives and conservation efforts. Panelists: Bob Broscheid, Director, Colorado Parks and Wildlife; Bob Rankin, Representative, Colorado House of Representatives; Tom Jankovsky, Commissioner, Garfield County; Luke Schafer, West Slope Advocacy Director, Conservation Colorado; John Alves, Senior Aquatic Biologist, Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Stakeholder Perspectives on Species Conservation and the ESA: Speakers representing a variety of federal and state agencies engaged in a discussion of the key points brought up in previous initiative workshops and shared perspectives on potential collaborative solutions. Panelists: Bob Broscheid, Director, Colorado Parks and Wildlife; Gary Frazer, Assistant Director for Endangered Species, United States Fish and Wildlife Service; Jonathan Houck, Commissioner, Gunnison County; Carey Farmer, Gas Plants and Commercial Manager, ConocoPhillips; Ethan Lane, Executive Director, Public Lands Council/National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; John Gale, Conservation Director, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.
Species Conservation Funding: The panelists discussed existing federal, state and private
funding mechanisms for species conservation activities. Panelists: Deborah Freeman, Attorney, Trout, Raley, Montano, Witwer & Freeman; David Brown, GPA Director, Lower 48-West, BP America; Eric Holst, Associate Vice President, Working Lands, Environmental Defense Fund; Terry Fankhauser, Executive Vice President, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association; Julie Grogan-Stewart, Deputy Chief of Staff, USDA-NRCS; Chris West, Director, Rocky Mountain Regional Office, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
Legal Analysis of the Endangered Species Act: Speakers representing a diversity of interests analyzed various structural aspects of the Endangered Species Act. Panelists: Noreen Walsh, Regional Director, Mountain-Prairie Region, United States Fish and Wildlife Service; Myles Culhane, Managing Counsel, Occidental Oil and Gas Corporation; Jay Tutchton, Senior Staff Attorney, Defenders of Wildlife; Robert Fischman, Professor, Indiana UniversityMaurer School of Law; Norman James, Attorney, Fennemore Craig.