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Environment and Public Lands

Wise use of our public lands and collaborative land-use decisions through stakeholder inclusive conversations are at the heart of the Andrus Center.  As former Secretary of the Interior, Cecil D. Andrus holds one of the greatest conservation records in American history.  In his words, “I remain hopeful that I will be able to pass on to my grandchildren all the pleasures of life in an unspoiled West. Perhaps hope should be replaced by a stronger word. It is a matter of obligation.”

2019 – Energy, Salmon, Agriculture, and Community: Can We Come Together?

The Pacific Northwest now faces two interconnected crises that can only be solved together – assuring our region’s energy system emerges reliable and affordable from the technological and market changes roiling it and reversing the continuing decline towards the extinction of many Columbian Basin wild salmon and steelhead, especially those in the Snake River. To make durable progress on these vital linked issues, Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Idaho must come together to resolve them. The conference is designed to encourage action and discussion toward such resolution and to bring together the leaders and groups who can find and implement a long-term plan that meets everyone’s needs.

2018 – Idaho’s Water: Supply and Quality in a Time of Growth

A conference to address issues with Idaho’s water supply and water quality in the context of rapid population growth and climate change in southern Idaho.  Some questions the conference considered: (1) The ability to manage Idaho’s water supplies for a rapidly growing population in the Treasure Valley where there is a continued reduction in acres of irrigated agricultural land, (2) How other states deal with changes in water use and growth, and (3) Water quality implications with urbanization of agricultural land and related issues with water quality downstream of the Boise River where it meets the Snake River.

2017 – Why Public Lands Matter

A conference designed to look at current public lands management practices, the various voices in support and dissent, and potential stakeholder collaboration toward forward-looking best practices designed to manage, protect, and preserve our public lands for the generations to follow.

2015 – Western Invasive Weed Summit

The purpose was to convene a summit of federal departments (i.e., DOI, USDA, DOC, etc) and agencies, state and local government agencies, tribes and key non-government organizations to review existing invasive species mandates and programs, and to set a coordinated plan of action for invasive plant management in the West.

The goal of the summit was to build on the recent Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) publication, Invasive Plant Management and Greater Sage-grouse Conservation: A Review and Status Report with Strategic Recommendations for Improvement (Ielmini et al 2015). We refined the report’s challenges and barriers and developed recommendations for securing adequate and consistent program funding at local, state, and federal levels.

We identified federal department orders and other directions for accelerating invasive weed management activities at all levels to meet the needs of GRSG conservation across the western United States. The final product of the Summit was the development of an Action Plan to help guide state and federal agencies, local governments and private entities in a coordinated and effective approach to addressing this important conservation issue.