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Continuing Education for Natural Resource Professionals

Workshop Agenda for:

Endangered Species Act: A Practical Primer (ESA)
for Decisionmakers, Biologists and Staff Specialists


May 4 - 7, 2015


Hosted by Environmental & Natural Resources Law Program,
Lewis & Clark Law School, Lewis & Clark College


Lexington, KY

Welcome to Endangered Species Act Management for Line Officers. A workshop for decision makers dealing with various TES management issues. Focus is on provisions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and other laws governing species management, agency policies, procedures, and taking action to prevent listings. Emphasis on agency and line officer obligations for consultation and recovery under the ESA. Interactive lectures, discussions, activities and field trips are used to facilitate learning. Bring a home unit situation for group discussion.

This workshop will enable you to:

  • Climate change and the ESA - Challenges of TES management in a warming world
  • be more successful at integrating ESA and related laws, thus reducing time and costs on associated projects.
  • explain policy, legal and administrative aspects of managing threatened, endangered and sensitive species.
  • understand the laws and actions influencing resource management and how they impact you today.
  • understand the legal process and administrative law - and thus how you fit into the picture.
  • initiate integrated success stories for TES species (get ahead of the curve!).
  • help your staff become more effective at TES management.
  • gather a wealth of varied insights and perspectives.
  • learn how other Line Officers and staff successfully manage TES species on their home units.
  • understand how ESA, NEPA, NFMA, MBTA, and other related laws can work together in ecosystem management.
  • understand roles of other Federal & State Agencies. How we see them and they see us.
  • understand how people think and learn; thus how you can interact with them to achieve mutual comprehension/understanding of contentious issues.
  • translate information into "on the ground" context on which to hang the varied discussions!

Agenda Topics:

(Note: This is the agenda, pending participant input. Every agenda is adapted to meet participant interests and needs.)

Downloadable DRAFT Agenda FY12

Monday - Thursday

  • Overview, Goals/Objectives, How do YOU learn?
  • History of Federal Wildlife Management
  • Introduction to Legal Process and Administrative Law
  • Strolling through the Endangered Species Act
  • Why Preserve Species?
  • Putting the Puzzle Together
  • Section 7 & the Consultation Process
  • Other Major Provisions of the ESA
  • Cafe Conservation (getting ahead of the curve)
  • Agency Roles and Responsibilities in
  • TES Management
  • Karnak the Magnificent (personal legal consulting)
  • Line Officers & Conserving Species
  • Been There & Done That!
  • Forest Service Ecosystem Management Policy
  • Interagency Coordination and Cooperation
  • Requirements and Expectations (NMFS, States, FWS, Tribal Councils)


8:30 am

Today's Learning Objectives:
  • Understanding Legal Concepts
  • Addressing Biodiversity
  • Evaluating How Things Start: Listing & Recovery of Species

Welcome & Overview of Workshop

Janice Weis, JD, Associate Dean & Director, Environmental & Natural Resources Law Program, Lewis & Clark Law School (Portland, OR) 

Collaboration: Who are You and Why are You Here?

Break into working groups to (1) complete "biogrids" and (2) identify hot ESA issues. What ESA issues are important to you?

Legal Process and Administrative Law with Janice Weis

What are the sources of federal law? What do we mean by "administrative discretion?" How do citizens get into court? How do courts review lawsuits involving federal agencies?

Making Trade-offs in the Senate with Professor Dan Rohlf, JD, Lewis & Clark Law School (Portland)

Virtually every year, some members of Congress discuss making changes to the Endangered Species Act. In December, 2005, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would have made sweeping changes to the ESA, but the Senate never took up the issue. Here’s your chance to provide Senators with advice as to whether to change current law, and if so, what modifications to make.

The ESA’s Listing Process and Recovery Planning with Dan Rohlf

Discussion of the main ESA provisions that govern the listing of species, designation of critical habitat, and recovery planning. Exploration of use of voluntary conservation agreements/efforts to head off listings. Evaluation of the roles of law, science, and policy in these arenas.


Reception & Overflow Discussion


Today's Learning Objectives:
  • Understanding the Effect of Listed Species on Land Management Decisions
  • Incidental Take & Consultation for Federal Agencies
  • Federal Agencies’ Conservation Obligations

Overview of ESA - Prohibited Actions and Exceptions: Sections 9 and 10 with Dan Rohlf

Overview of prohibitions once a species is listed. Overview of tools to allow non-federal entities to conserve and take listed species. How Section 10 relates to Section 7.

Federal Agencies’ Obligations: The Substantive and Procedural Requirements of Section 7 with Dan Rohlf

Procedural and substantive duties under Sections 7(a)(1) and (a)(2) and process for allowable incidental take for federal agencies. Review of conservation obligations under Section 7.

Consultation Q & A on Section 7 with Fish & Wildlife Service with Pam Repp, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Opportunity to ask questions of FWS about consultation; tips on making consultations effective; highlights from FWS/NMFS Consultation Handbook.

Section 7 Consultation Hypothetical with Dan Rohlf

Pose consultation hypothetical. Small group work on hypothetical. Discussion of Hypothetical

Climate Change and the ESA – Challenges and Opportunities

Wednesday Field Trip

Today's Objectives:
  • Why should we conserve biodiversity?
  • What is the role for public land managers?

Expectations & Goals for the Day

Field Study: "All Creatures, Great and Small"

A close look at our local resources and what they can teach us about forest management.

Dinner - On Your Own


Today's Learning Objective:
  • Best Practices in the Field

Retrospection w

Review of Tuesday and Wednesday; Additions\Deletions to "Hot Issues" List

Perspectives of the Environmental Community

What makes environmental organizations “tick”? Involving environmental groups in administrative processes and understanding goals

Role of Line Officers in TES Management

How can you be successful at conserving species? Highlight of new NFMA regs; update on ESA developments; integration of NFMA, ESA and NEPA.

Representing the Forest Service - Office of General Counsel

Discussion of latest case developments; approaches to problem-solving; limitations & opportunities to integrate NEPA, NFMA & NEPA. Opportunities to ask questions of your lawyer.

Hot Issues/Final Questions

Review of hot issues and final questions.

Family Feud

“Survey Says” you are ready to be a leader in implementing the ESA! Which “family” will answer the final questions correctly? A team of experts will decide.

3:30 pm - Adjourn & Travel Home

Disclaimers | Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) | Privacy Notice

Forest Service Continuing Education for Natural Resource Professionals
Author: Shelly Witt, National Continuing Education Coordinator,
WFW staff
Phone: 435-881-4203
Expires: none

Photo Credits

USDA Forest Service
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
(202) 205-8333

 Last Modified: January 2015