Executive Director’s Notebook: Working Lands Roundtable dynamically continues work of WGA Initiatives

By Jim Ogsbury

Earlier this month, Idaho Governor Brad Little hosted a meeting of the WGA Working Lands Roundtable in the City of Trees, beautiful Boise. This was nothing if not a working session, where experts in resource management toiled away for two days on specific challenges bedeviling the West: cheatgrass, vegetation management, post-disaster recovery, and collaborative conservation of species. 

“OK, but what the heck is a Working Lands Roundtable?” you may ask.

WGA established the Roundtable to continue the critical resource work initiated by Western Governors who are committed to sustaining the environments, economies and phenomenal natural assets of the great American West. Much of this work has grown from WGA Chair Initiatives:  the Western Governors’ Drought Forum of former Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval; the Species Conservation and Endangered Species Initiative of former Wyoming Governor Matt Mead; the National Forest and Rangeland Management Initiative of Montana Governor Steve Bullock; and the Biosecurity and Invasive Species Initiative of Hawaii Governor David Ige.

Each of these initiatives represents a multi-year commitment of resources and activities. Each requires the informed participation of stakeholders, experts and resource managers. And each is oriented toward action, because Western Governors are not about talk, they’re about getting things done.

And that’s where the Working Lands Roundtable comes in. It assembles technical experts, land managers, academics and thought leaders as a creative force on whom the Governors rely to help devise solutions to resource challenges in the West. The Roundtable is providing intellectual feedstock to gubernatorial policy, recommendations and action.

The work of the Roundtable is important, and it is meaningful. Why? Because no other group of elected officials, at their level of influence, are, on a bipartisan basis, producing policy that is as substantive, detailed and consequential as that being developed by Western Governors. Consequently, Roundtable efforts have the potential to visit positive effects on working lands for years – or even generations – to come.

If you are interested in learning more about the Working Lands Roundtable, visit the web page or email WGA policy advisor Zach Bodhane. In the meantime, I’d like to extend my gratitude to those public-minded citizens who have rolled up their sleeves to help Western Governors achieve their collective bipartisan resource objectives. Thank you for your service to the West.

Jim Ogsbury is the Executive Director of the Western Governors' Association. Contact him at 303-623-9378 or send an email. Get the latest news about the West and its governors by following the Western Governors' Association on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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