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USDA, DOI, and Western Governors Launch Collaborative Conservation Task Force
On February 3, the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture entered into an agreement with western governors to create a new Task Force on Collaborative Conservation to serve as a forum to respond to the land, water, and wildlife challenges facing the West. The goal of the task force is to enhance the partnerships and coordination that are necessary to address natural resource management issues including drought and wildland fire. The newly launched Task Force will help strengthen effective coordination and implementation of priority conservation programs and policies, including those affecting wildlife corridors, wildfire and drought resilience and response, and forest and rangeland restoration. It will also contribute to the development of a conservation atlas to advance the America the Beautiful initiative, while supporting the voluntary stewardship efforts of ranchers, farmers and other private landowners and to keep working lands working.
“This is an important milestone in strengthening collaboration between western states and the federal government, and builds on efforts like the USDA-WGA Shared Stewardship Agreement,” said Jim Ogsbury, Executive Director of the Western Governors' Association. “Western Governors appreciate the value of cross-boundary coordination between federal, state, local, Tribal and private landowners on issues like wildfire mitigation, invasive species control, and habitat restoration. The Task Force is designed to drive to collective action on some of the biggest challenges we face on our western landscapes.”