January 28, 2022

What is the Species Conservation and ESA Initiative?

What is the Species Conservation and ESA Initiative?

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead currently serves as the Chairman of the Western Governors’ Association.  As Chair, Governor Mead announced that his Chair’s initiative would be Western Governors’ Species Conservation and the Endangered Species Act Initiative. The initiative will: create a mechanism for states to share best practices in species management; elevate the role of states in species conservation efforts; and explore ways to improve the efficacy of the Endangered Species Act.  Workshops and webinars, for example, will be used to yield recommendations for improvingstate species conservation activities and the Endangered Species Act.


Western Governors’ Association (“WGA”) is hosting a series of workshops around the west over the next several months to bring stakeholders from varying backgrounds and interests together to discuss species conservation and the Endangered Species Act. The first workshop was held in Cody, Wyoming on November 12-13.  Over 100 people representing varying interests including energy, agriculture, forestry, recreational, home builders, sportspeople, environmental, local government, state government, federal government, and interested citizens came together to explore ways to improve the efficacy of the Endangered Species Act.

The next workshop will be held in Boise, ID on January 19th, and will be hosted by Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter. Discussion topics will include the role of state and local governments in coordination and consultation, best available science, critical habitat designations, policy for evaluation of conservation efforts (“PECE”), and landscape-level conservation and incentivizing private landowners.  If you are interested in attending, please contact Zach Bodhane of the Western Governors Association at zbodhane@westgov.org, or (303) 534-7309 for registration and workshop information.

Here will be a workshop in February in Hawaii and Colorado in March.


The first webinar entitled, “Voluntary Species Conservation Incentives and Collaboration: Black-footed Ferret Recovery” will be held on January 14th from 10:30 a.m.- noon MST.  If you are interested in registering for this webinar, please visit http://westgov.org/initiatives/esa-initiative and follow the links to registration.


If you would like to submit any comments or recommendations regarding this Initiative, including ways to improve the efficacy of the Endangered Species Act, or to better obviate the need to list species in the first instance, or if you would just like more information about the Initiative you can contact David Willms at david.willms@wyo.gov, or Zach Bodhane at zbodhane@westgov.org.