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.
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:
Species Spotlight is a case study series examining the challenges and opportunities in species conservation:
The Sage Grouse Initiative has created a partnership of stakeholders working to conserve sage grouse habitat on ranchlands in 11 western states since its creation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service in 2010. More information. At a glance:
Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) is a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service that provides private landowners and agricultural producers with technical and financial assistance to improve habitat for seven target species. More information. At a glance:
Intermountain West Joint Venture is a regional partnership of government agencies, non-profit organizations, corporations, tribes and individuals collaboratively working to protect priority bird habitats across 11 western states. The joint venture provides leadership and fosters collaboration to drive successful habitat conservation outcomes. More information.
This non-profit organization works with private landholders across North America on voluntary land management practices that benefit the environment. The Foundation works with farmers, ranchers and foresters to improve the quality of their lands through science, ethics and incentives. More information. At a glance:
Trout Unlimited launched the Western Water Project in 1998 to restore healthy stream flows and habitat and now operates in California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The project partners with ranchers and farmers on pragmatic, on-the-ground restoration projects that illustrate how working landscapes and fish can coexist. More information. At a glance:
The Partnership has worked since 1999 to protect endangered Interior Least Terns and threatened Piping Plovers in Nebraska. Housed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and staffed by university employees, the program relies on the voluntary participation of sand and gravel companies that operate near the birds’ habitat. More information. At a glance:
The Washington State Legislature created the Salmon Recovery Funding Board in 1999 to provide grants for protection and restoration of salmon habitat. The board funds overall salmon recovery, including habitat projects and other activities that result in sustainable and measurable benefits for salmon and other fish species. More information. At a glance.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Wetlands Program preserves and restores state wetland habitat, benefiting at-risk species while expanding outdoor recreation and hunting opportunities. Funded primarily by Great Outdoors Colorado, the program funds habitat improvement on private and public lands. The state-provided funds are often used to leverage federal partnerships and funding, maximizing the program’s impact. More information. At a glance:
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game developed the Mule Deer Initiative (MDI) in 2004 in response to declining mule deer populations across the state. The initiative protects and improves mule deer habitat to increase the population and improve hunter satisfaction. MDI provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners interested in improving mule deer habitat on their land. The Initiative is cooperatively funded by IDFG, Pheasants Forever, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Intermountain West Joint Venture. Improving thousands of acres annually, MDI is enabling landscape-scale changes in sage steppe, riparian, and quaking aspen habitats. More information.
The exchange hopes to encourage investment in conservation and restoration of vital California Central Valley species habitat by promoting, monitoring and assisting in the exchange of habitat credits. A pilot program launching in 2016 will allow water and transportation developers to purchase credits from farmers who maintain habitat for Swainson’s hawk, Chinook salmon and riparian songbirds. More information. At a glance: