First work session of Species Conservation and ESA Initiative delivers recommendations to incentivize voluntary conservation

In 2015 Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, as Chairman of the Western Governors’ Association, launched the Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative.

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 (ESA). That regional dialogue was captured in the Year One Report and Appendix in six over-arching themes that included, among others, Incentivizing Voluntary Conservation, Investing in Science and Measurable Outcomes, and Law and Policy Recommendations.

WGA now is conducting a series of targeted work sessions to elicit more detailed input about those key themes and develop an understanding of challenges that may impede implementation of bipartisan policy recommendations.  In Denver on Nov. 16, 2016, WGA hosted the first work session on the theme of "Incentivizing Voluntary Conservation."

One outcome of the work session was a series of recommendations. Although the recommendations don't necessarily reflect consensus agreement from participants, all were informed by a robust bipartisan dialogue. They included:

  • Increase the number of conservation programs that come with regulatory assurances;
  • Find a way to provide assurances on public land so that Candidate Conservation Agreements more closely resemble Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances;
  • Collaboration by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with states to provide models and templates to incentivize proactive voluntary conservation.
Read, download report, including all 12 recommendations

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