The Governor’s Office of Species Conservation was established within the Executive Office of the Governor during the 2000 Idaho Legislative Session with passage of Senate Bill 1490 (§ 67-818, Idaho Code). The Administrator of the Office of Species Conservation is appointed by the Governor and designated to:
A. Coordinate the State’s implementation and response to federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) species recovery plans,
B. Coordinate all State departments and division with duties and responsibilities affecting ESA listed species,
C. Provide input and comment to federal and state agencies, and tribes on issues relating to ESA listed species,
D. Cooperate and consult with state agencies regarding ESA agreements,
E. Provide the citizens of Idaho with an ombudsman to address their issues and concerns related to the ESA listed species.
The Governor's Office of Species Conservation is dedicated to planning, coordinating and implementing the State's actions to preserve, protect and restore species listed as threatened, endangered or candidate under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). This work will be done in coordination with the States’ natural resource agencies and with the input of the citizens of Idaho, while taking into consideration the economic vitality of the State.
Endangered Species Litigation
ESA species issues tend to have fluctuating priorities. A species and/or habitat issue receiving a lot of focus at one moment may be suddenly have a lesser priority depending upon the biological, social, political or cultural ramifications of current events, petitions or litigation. State agencies must be flexible to adapt to those shifts in priorities as they occur.
Unpredictable Federal Funding
Shrinking federal dollars and competing programs result in significant funding uncertainties for State agencies. Priorities and action plans must have a level of flexibility built in so that State agencies can adjust their focus if the funding for a particular species and/or habitat issue “dries up.”
Unforeseen environmental events (i.e. catastrophic wildfire) resulting in significant impacts to either species or habitats has the potential to affect how State agencies prioritize work plans and spending.
Strategic Planning Elements
Goal #1: Coordinated implementation of State policy among State agencies pertaining to federal ESA programs.
Work with State natural resource agencies to coordinate the State’s actions on all ESA recovery plans, management plans, public comment periods, biological opinions, species specific recovery projects, and assistance programs.
1. Continue working with state agencies affected by ESA actions.
2. Coordinate and/or facilitate policy review meetings with State and federal agencies to address major topics within the context of federal ESA program implementation.
3. Communicate the Executive Office’s recommendations regarding ESA policy to affected agencies.
4. Provide guidance and coordination for State agencies incorporating State policy into their federal ESA implementation programs.
5. Continue work on the Rare and Declining Species policy for the State of Idaho.
State agencies will be able to implement State policy with greater clarity, efficiency and effectiveness.
- Provide regular updates to germane State agencies regarding greater sage-grouse conservation, woodland caribou critical habitat, wolverine conservation planning, grizzly bear delisting, salmon, steelhead and bull trout recovery planning and conservation programs and other priorities of the Governor.
- Assist the Idaho Office of Energy Resources with the implementation of the Idaho Energy Plan.
- Provide assistance and/or technical support to IDL with the implementation of the Forest Practices Act.
- Represent the Executive Office on the Kootenai River habitat policy team.
- Represent the Executive Office on the Governor’s Roadless Rule Task Force.
- Assist Local Working Groups with the coordination, funding and implementation of the Sage Grouse Management Plan.
- Assist the Governor’s Sage-Grouse Task Force in developing recommendations for the Governor on conserving sage-grouse and its habitat and precluding the need to list.
- Continue to work with state and federal agencies to complete the NEPA process for sage-grouse conservation that incorporates the Governor’s Sage-Grouse Conservation Alternative.
- Provide assistance and/or technical support to State agencies with Salmon/Steelhead recovery efforts.
- Coordinate and oversee salmon and steelhead technical recovery groups in the Clearwater and Salmon Basin.
- Coordinate with IDFG and federal agencies on wolf/livestock conflicts.
- Continue to coordinate with state natural resource agencies on conservation efforts to preclude the need to list candidate species as threatened or endangered.
- Provide technical and policy expertise on federal listing proposals of Multi-District Litigation (MDL) settlement species.
- Provide technical support for the 5-year status reviews on listed snail species on the middle Snake River.
- Provide technical and policy expertise for Yellowstone Grizzly Bear delisting.
- Monitor ESA listing petitions to insure that the state is prepared to provide comments when and where applicable.
Goal #2: Negotiate agreements with federal resource agencies that rely upon science and common sense, involve all parties affected by ESA decisions, and incorporate Idaho’s economic vitality and values into the decision making process.
Facilitate and/or participate in the development of species and/or habitat protection plans with Idaho citizens and industries that may be affected by ESA species decisions.
1. Evaluate the implications that resource management agreements have on the State of Idaho and its citizens.
2. Work closely with elected officials who are involved in setting national ESA policy.
3. Review and make recommendations to the Executive Office on ESA policy decisions.
4. Communicate the Executive Office’s interests during agreement negotiations.
5. Work closely with State agencies to ensure that agreements incorporate the best available science and data.
6. Strive to strike a balance between species conservation, industry, and Idaho’s way of life.
Natural resource conservation agreements will have been fully and thoroughly vetted by germane constituencies and result in sensible outcomes for all interested parties.
- Implement and monitor the statewide conservation strategy for greater sage-grouse.
- Participate in development of Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances for southern Idaho ground squirrel.
- Implement and monitor the Clearwater/Salmon forestry agreement.
- Participate in bull trout recovery planning.
- Participate in Spring/Summer Chinook and Steelhead recovery planning.
- Participate in the development of an alternative for the BLM’s NEPA analysis for land-use plan revisions for greater sage-grouse conservation.
Goal #3: Coordinated solicitation, reasonable oversight and cost effective allocation of funding resources for ESA programs.
Solicit, provide, and delegate funding towards efforts that: a) preclude the need for listing of species and their habitat through conservation efforts; b) preserve and restore listed species through conservation efforts; and c) de-list recovered species through on-the-ground conservation efforts.
1. Provide guidance and coordination for State agencies and organizations seeking to obtain federal funding for conservation projects.
2. Simplify, to the greatest extent possible, the processes involved for organizations/agencies to apply for, and obtain funds for conservation projects.
3. Establish coordinated financial processes with respective State agencies to ensure timely fiscal transactions.
4. Work with the Department of Financial Management to ensure that all federal assistance programs meet or exceed federal assistance program management requirements.
5. Ensure that federally funded projects comply with applicable federal law.
6. Ensure that federally funded projects are providing measurable benefits to species.
Agencies and organizations seeking grant funds through the Office of Species Conservation will receive awards in a timely and efficient manner with minimal hassle, and receive outstanding technical support from OSC staff.
- Conduct biannual request for proposals (RFP) for Pacific Coast Salmon Recovery (PCSRF) funds and provide technical assistance to projects sponsors.
- Coordinate and distribute PCSRF funding for qualified projects.
- Provide technical assistance to project sponsors of Snake River Basin Adjudication (SRBA) funded projects.
- Solicit and coordinate projects for funding under the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) Accord funding.
- Solicit congressional funding for ESA listed and candidate species and habitat projects.
- Solicit, coordinate and distribute Idaho wolf depredation compensation program funds.
- Collect and document grant programs accomplishments for distribution to constituencies and cooperators.
- Ensure grant program financial information is collected, maintained and presented in accordance with established or stated federal accounting criteria.
- Ensure grant program compliance procedures meet or exceed federal standards.
- Improve staffing efficiencies.
Goal #4: Unsurpassed constituent services for State, federal and private stakeholders seeking assistance with ESA issues.
Fulfill our mandate to provide the people of State of Idaho with an ombudsman to assist with ESA issues that may be harming or hindering them.
1. Provide clear, concise and timely responses to requests for ESA policy information.
2. Keep abreast of evolving policy issues at the National, State and local level.
3. Provide rapid analyses and responses pertaining to ESA policy decisions impacting Idaho's citizens.
4. Maintain effective communication with key entities concerned with ESA policy implementation (e.g. legislators, legislative staff, germane legislative committees, local governments and elected officials).
5. Establish and maintain effective communication with key Congressional personnel to keep informed of changes in national ESA policy.
6. Maintain a visible presence in the field with constituents; which will ensure OSC staff has a deep understanding of the issues on the ground.
Idaho citizenry will feel that their ESA issues and concerns have been heard, and believe that to the greatest extent possible, OSC staff did their best to address and/or remedy them.
- Serve as repository for agreements and plans among governmental entities in the state of Idaho to conserve threatened and endangered species.
- Establish constituent forums where the public and elected officials can communicate with OSC staff regarding ESA concerns and receive updates on species conservation efforts.
- Establish efficiencies in the processing of de-listing petitions.
- Assist constituencies with ESA Section 6 processes.
- Assist constituencies with ESA Section 7 processes.
- Assist constituencies with ESA Section 10 processes.
- Assist constituencies with NEPA processes.
- Assist constituencies with finding on-the-ground solutions.
- Continue to receive constituent input regarding the draft Rare and Declining Species policy while proceeding with its development.