Says citizen conservation model is inspiration for environmental programs
St. Louis, MO â?? The key to improving conservation efforts related to the Endangered Species Act can best be enacted by learning from past successes in collaboration and consensus found around the country. That was the message from Idaho Senator Mike Crapo to start Day 2 of the White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation in St. Louis, Missouri. Crapo noted how sportsmen, farmers, landowners, conservationists, tribal members, and others are working in tandem with government officials to better protect and recover species. He leads a bipartisan group of Senators seeking to improve recovery efforts under the Endangered Species Act.â??We must follow up protection efforts with actions to restore species populations. That is what hunters and fishermen have been doing on their own for decades and the same hard work of rebuilding populations can solve a great many of the endangered species problems today,â?? Crapo said. He told the conference that the federal government should strengthen local incentives such as those in the Farm Bill because they are working to protect species and should be expanded where possible through program improvements, tax changes, and collaborative efforts that can preempt ESA listings and foster cooperative recovery efforts. Crapo, who also chairs the Congressional Sportsmenâ??s Caucus, noted the role sportsmen and women have played in species recovery. â??They regulated themselves and invested the money to restore wildlife populations,â?? he said and noted recent collaborative efforts in Idaho which have benefited sage grouse, burbot, wolves, and elk. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation recently contributed $1.5 million toward elk recovery efforts included in U.S. Forest Service planning in the Clearwater River Basin. Crapo began the Clearwater Elk Collaborative effort in central Idaho.â??To be certain that cooperation grows strong in American conservation, we must be definite about what will help it grow,â?? Crapo added. â??Those needs include less gridlock in Congress, more shared responsibility between people and federal agencies, and better incentives all around.â??