WGA launches Task Force on Collaborative Conservation to lead proactive work in the West

The Western Governors’ Association (WGA) has launched the Western Governors’ Task Force on Collaborative Conservation (Task Force). The state-led effort will develop regional collaborative and proactive approaches to conserve at-risk fish and wildlife species, as well as habitat.

The Task Force, announced at WGA’s 2018 Winter Meeting, will enable Western Governors to partner with federal agencies, state fish and wildlife leaders, and other stakeholder groups to develop and prioritize conservation actions for at-risk species and habitat while preserving the integrity and viability of western working landscapes and communities.

Conservation of fish and wildlife populations faces many challenges, including wildfire, habitat disturbance and fragmentation, and the spread of invasive species. Past collaborative efforts leveraging state and federal resources have successfully conserved several species to the extent that they do not warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Western Governors and their federal agency partners, however, recognize the need for a more proactive approach that incentivizes conservation of at-risk species and habitat well before they become subject to a possible listing as threatened or endangered under the ESA.

Western Governors will utilize the Task Force to build upon ongoing efforts to increase coordination among stakeholders, pursue on-the-ground conservation actions, and improve habitat for at-risk species. The Task Force also will enable the development of a coordinated regional effort to identify at-risk species and habitats, assess scientific needs, facilitate data exchange, share best practices, and direct a focused response before the threat of an ESA listing is imminent. Additionally, the Task Force will expand on existing efforts to conserve species deemed as candidates for listing under the ESA.

Through the Task Force, Governors and key partners will work to identify the highest priority, at-risk species and habitat projects to pursue for the benefit of western wildlife populations and working lands. Find additional details on our website.

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