Western governors release report on desired ESA improvements

By Lauren McDonald

©Kristy Bly

The Western Governors’ Association (WGA) concluded their year-long Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative this month. The initiative was created for wildlife managers, scientists, and varying stakeholders to share management practices and discuss possible improvements to the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

As a part of the initiative, workshops were attended by local, state, and federal wildlife experts who shared data and science with attendees to improve collaboration for “the benefit of species.” Workshops included discussions on the roles of state and local governments in species conservation.

WGA also released a policy resolution on ESA, which included a series of recommendations to improve the implementation of the law. The resolution recommended that federal agencies increase collaboration with states when implementing and administering ESA, because, according to the report, states are the most impacted by listing species.

Other recommendations included defining a “clear methodology” for delisting species, providing incentives for private landowners to engage in species and habitat conservation activities, and to reduce harmful litigation practices that impact the agency’s budget.

The Western Governors’ Association intends to continue the efforts that were started by this initiative. The final report and workshop videos are available on the website.

For more information see TWS’ position statement and technical review on the Endangered Species Act.

Lauren McDonald is a policy intern at The Wildlife Society as part of the Government Affairs & Partnership program.

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