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.
Video: 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.
Year Two Work Sessions
WGA has conducted a series of targeted work sessions during the second year of the Initiative to elicit more detailed input about key themes that emerged during the first year. Each work session developed a series of recommendations. While the recommendations do not necessarily reflect consensus agreement from participants, they were informed by a robust bipartisan dialogue. Here are summaries of the day-long sessions conducted so far:
- Incentivizing Voluntary Conservation (Nov. 16, 2016): Recommendations that came out of this work session included increasing the number of conservation programs that come with regulatory assurances and collaboration by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with states to provide models and templates to incentivize proactive voluntary conservation. Read, download summary
- Listing, Recovery and Delisting (Jan. 31, 2017): Pairing economic incentives with critical habitat designations on private land and developing a national policy for the implementation of 4(d) rules that details best practices and incentivizes strong local input were two of the recommendations that came out of this work session. Read, download summary
- The Role of State and Local Governments in Species Conservation and ESA Implementation (Feb. 28, 2017): Work session participants engaged in a facilitated discussion of the role of state and local governments in facilitating proactive species conservation and implementing the ESA. Recommendations included increased Section 6 funding for states and increased regulatory flexibility to allow time for state-led conservation plans to be developed. Read, download summary
- Landscape-Scale Conservation and Best Available Science (Apr. 4, 2017): Work session participants engaged in a facilitated discussion about landscapescale conservation strategies and the best available science mandate under ESA. Dialogue included framing conservations for landscape-scale conservation efforts and examined how such efforts may interact with existing policy frameworks. Read, download summary