Friday, March 11, 2016

Western governors push state-run rescues of imperiled wildlife

Western governors forged ahead Wednesday on re-thinking the Endangered Species Act to give states and local communities the lead roles in stopping extinctions — an effort aimed ultimately at Congress. The governors haven't decided yet whether they want to tweak, or overhaul, that landmark 1973 ESA law requiring federal rescues to try to save species. "It's pre-mature to make that judgment. ... That's a legitimate question," said Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is hosting the two-day forum in Denver led by Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, chairman of the 19-state Western Governors' Association. This brainstorming of how best to preserve imperiled wildlife in the face of rapid population growth and development began last year. More than 150 participants from dozens of state governments and conservation groups are involved. The group plans a final April workshop in Hawaii before developing a formal policy.   The problem as westerners see it: The feds have listed some 2,308 species since 1973 for ESA protection as threatened or endangered, but only 33 have been removed from the list. Since August, 25 species were added while three were removed.
"That's a 1.4 percent success rate," Mead said. "We need, fundamentally, to do a better job of recovering species."...more

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