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Gov. Ige emphasizes critical balance of species, people at Hawaii ESA workshop

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Governor Ige at ESA WorkshopHawaii Gov. David Ige opened the workshopHawaii Gov. David Ige kicked off the final workshop of the Western Governors' Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative on Oahu by emphasizing 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," Gov. Ige said at the the two-day (April 7-8) workshop in Honolulu, "to balance the needs of the species here with the needs of Hawaii's human inhabitants."

The Honolulu workshop of the Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative is Wyoming Gov. Matt 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. (Read a story by the Associated Press) Following is a look at the other sessions held at the Hawaii workshop, with links of videos of each session:

Species Conservation from a Cultural PerspectiveSam Ohu Gon at ESA WorkshopSam 'Ohu Gon welcomed attendees: Sam ‘Ohu Gon III, Senior Scientist & Cultural Advisor for The Nature Conservancy Hawaii, delivered a stirring and insightful overview of the connection between the islands' cultural history and its many species and habitats. The connection, he noted, might be summed up by the local expression: The land is the chief, the people its servants. 

Protecting Marine Areas: Balancing Conservation with Multiple Use: The panelists highlighted the use of marine protected areas to conserve marine species while considering economic interests of the local community. Panelists: John Laird, Secretary, California Natural Resources Agency; Suzanne Case, Chair, Board of Land and Natural Resources, State of Hawaii; Dr. Randall Kosaki, Deputy Superintendent, Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument; Sean Martin, President, Hawaii Longline Association.

State and Local Consultation & Coordination: Varying Perspectives: Panelists examined the differing definitions of consultation amongst agencies (NMFS & USFWS) and states while offering suggestions to improve the process and offer certainty to partners and stakeholders. Panelists: Bruce Dale, Director, Alaska Department of Fish and Game; Josh Kindred, Environmental Counsel, Alaska Oil and Gas Association; Sam ‘Ohu Gon III, Senior Scientist & Cultural Advisor, The Nature Conservancy Hawaii; Keith Unger, General Manager, McCandless Ranch; Paul Dalzell, Senior Scientist, Western Pacific Fishery Management Council.

DAY 2

Suzanne Case at ESA WorkshopSuzanne Case, Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources Chair: Case (at left) opened the second day by emphasizing the importance of "transparency and inclusiveness" when it comes to effectively protecting species. She also noted the challenge presented by the increasing number of critical habitat designations.

Climate Change and ESA: Panelists discussed challenges and opportunities for the integration of climate change considerations into the framework of the Endangered Species Act. Panelists: John Laird, Secretary, California Natural Resources Agency; Bruce Dale, Director, Alaska Department of Fish and Game; Eric Gardner, Deputy Assistant Director, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife; Margaret Sporck-Koehler, State Botanist, State of Hawaii.

Invasive Species Impacts on Species Conservation Efforts: Panelists examined the challenges invasive species present to species conservation efforts and discussed Bruce Dale AK Department of Fish and GameBruce Dale, Alaska Dept. of Fish and Gamestrategies to prevent and eradicate pest and alien species for the benefit of imperiled native species. Panelists: Neil Reimer, Administrator, Plant Industry Division, Hawaii Department of Agriculture; Trae Menard, Director, Forest Conservation, The Nature Conservancy Hawaii; Carlos Suarez, California State Conservationist, USDANRCS; Dale Sandlin, Managing Director, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council; Earl Campbell, Chief, Invasive Species Program, USFWSPIFWO.

Listing and Delisting Considerations: Panelists examined the petition and listing process and offered suggestions to improve the process. Panelists: Eric Gardner, Deputy Assistant Director, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife; Ann Garrett, Assistant Regional Administrator, Protected Resources Division, NOAA Fisheries’ Pacific Islands Regional Office; Loyal Mehrhoff, Endangered Species Recovery Director, Center for Biological Diversity; Glenn Reed, President, Pacific Seafood Processors Association; Elia Herman, Manager, Marine Wildlife Program, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.

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