The session held in Denver on Jan. 31, 2017, gathered a diverse array of stakeholders who focused on actions taken by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service under Section 4 of the ESA. Additional discussion touched on incentivizing voluntary conservation and improving coordination on proactive conservation efforts for at-risk species.
A series of recommendations came out of the work session. Although they don’t reflect consensus agreement from participants, they were informed by a robust bipartisan dialogue. A sample of the recommendations include:
- Establish mechanisms to protect confidential data from becoming publicly available through the Freedom of Information Act;
- Pair economic incentives with critical habitat designations on private land;
- Expand the FWS seven-year listing workplan to be ongoing and dynamic, and ensure statutory deadlines for actions as a backstop under the workplan model;
- Develop a national policy for the implementation of 4(d) rules that details best practices and incentivizes strong local input.
The Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative was launched in 2015 by Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead in his role as Chairman of the Western Governors’ Association. Workshops, webinars and questionnaires during the Initiative's first year enabled thousands of stakeholders representing diverse interests to explore options for improving species conservation efforts and the efficacy of the Endangered Species Act. Read the Year-One Report and Appendix.