V MEETING OF THE CANADA/MÉXICO/ UNITED STATES TRILATERAL COMMITTEE FOR WILDLIFE AND ECOSYSTEM CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT
EXECUTIVE WORKING TABLE
South Padre Island, Texas
February 14-17, 2000
John G. Rogers, Deputy Director
Marshall Jones, Assistant Director for International Affairs
Nancy Kaufman, Regional Director, Region 2
Herb Raffaele, Chief, Office of International Affairs
Javier Alvarez, Office of Scientific Authority
Melida Tajbakhsh, Office of International Affairs
Felipe Ramirez Ruiz de Velasco, Director General for Wildlife
Leonel Lozano, Director for Policy & Development
Robert McLean, Director, Wildlife Division
Carolina Caceres, Program Advisor
Jim de Vos, Arizona Department of Game and Fish
Gary Graham, Director, Wildlife Division, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
Gabriela Chavarria, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Hans Herrman, Commission on Environmental Cooperation
Steve Walker, Bat Conservation International
A. COUNTRY UP-DATES:
1. Mexico-Wildlife Management Legislation-Leonel Lozano
SEMARNAP recently introduced wildlife legislation currently under consideration by the Mexican Congress. If passed, this new legislation will regulate all aspects related to wildlife conservation and management in Mexico. This legislation strengthens conservation aspects of resource management, it is comprehensive, providing not only for species, but also ecosystems, it addresses land tenure issues, and provides for decentralization and enforcement mechanisms. SEMARNAP expects the new law to be approved by March. SEMARNAP also submitted changes to the NOM-059-94, to grant the federal government jurisdiction over all endangered and migratory species.
Felipe Ramirez explained that the new law incorporates criteria under which UMAS operate, and that UMAS will remain under federal jurisdiction. In reply to the question if under modifications to the NOM-095-94, populations could be designated as endangered,
and not only species, Director Ramirez explained that they will, but designation will be limited to the Mexican territory, in the case of populations shared by the U.S. and Mexico. Also that habitats would be designated under this category. Director Ramirez explained that currently, since there is no wildlife law, the Mexican Congress does not allocate funds for this, a situation that will change upon the ratification of the new law.
2. Robert McLean-CWS
Director McLean reported that Canada is in the process of developing a proposed Species at Risk Act (SARA) as part of a three part strategy to protect species. The proposed strategy sets a long-term, sustainable approach which would make incentives, stewardship and voluntary measures the preferred option to protect threatened or endangered species and their critical habitat. The strategy consists of building on partnerships with provinces and territories and promoting stewardship and incentive programs to assist private landowners and users to protect species and habitat. The proposed SARA would cover the following key elements: listing of species, prohibitions towards all listed threatened or endangered species in partnership with the provinces and territories, recovery planning, a critical habitat safety net, compensation following the use of the critical habitat safety net, and compliance, enforcement and dispute resolution. The proposed Act will be introduced into the House of Commons shortly.
3. John Rogers- USFWS
Deputy Director Rogers summarized the developments regarding the Federal Aid issue facing the Service. He described the status of the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA) which would provide substantial new resources to the States for wildlife conservation with revenues coming from off-shore oil releases. Rogers also distributed a report containing the Director’s priorities for 1999-2000 and indicated that law enforcement was the Service’s highest priority for the coming year.
B. Reports from State Wildlife Agencies
1. Gary Graham - Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Director Graham reported on plans for the World Birding Center and Technical Guidance to Private Landowners.
World Birding Center: Focus is three-fold–Conservation, Economic Development and Education. The headquarters will be in Mission, Texas with major interpretive centers in Brownsville and Weslaco and additional facilities in Harlingen and Edinburg. A community council with 12 members will guide the planning and development process. An estimated $22 million will be needed based on preliminary plans. TPWD will develop the master plan for sites with an estimated construction completion date of 2003.
Technical Guidance to Private Landowners: Starting in 1972, this program provides technical, one-on-one wildlife management planning assistance to private landowners desiring to include wildlife management in present and future land use. This service is strictly advisory and is provided without charge to cooperating land managers. TPWD now has 20 Technical Guidance Biologists on staff but all field staff provide technical guidance to landowners. Technical guidance includes: assistance with wildlife management plans, written recommendations, advice and consultation, seminars, and literature. Through this program and the use of incentive programs--including grants, cash incentive programs and tax breaks--12.6 million acres are now included under management plans.
2. Jim de Vos - Arizona Department of Game and Fish
Mr. de Vos reported that ADGF has been involved with management and research of the Sonoran pronghorn in Northern Sonora for more than a decade and this work the needs for recovery of the pronghorn were important factors in the establishment of the Pinacate Reserve. ADGF is also currently working with México to reestablish the black-footed ferret in the Janos region of Chihuahua. The ADGF has assumed a leadership role in the Sonoran Desert Joint Venture in definition of the activities that will be associated with this project in both México and the U.S. In addition, Arizona has been actively involved in training activities including the Wetland course offered in México and a program in wildlife law enforcement.
C. Report from the Commission on Environmental Cooperation
Hans Herrman reported that the CEC just released its Biodiversity Strategy and the three countries are in the process of reviewing it. Mexico and Canada requested two more months to submit responses. The FWS is coordinating the US Government agency response. This is the first step in the development of the strategy, which will serve as guidance on priorities and regions. Hans stated that the CEC is addressing issues such as lack of focus, isolated programs, "pet projects" which are over after one year, lack of performance indicators, unfinished initiatives, etc. By addressing these issues, the CEC expects to further define its niche and adopt the role of "honest broker" in environmental protection and biodiversity conservation in North America and to promote public involvement. The CEC is not an implementing agency, but a forum for the three countries. Examples of successful collaboration between the CEC and the Trilateral Committee include projects such as NAWEG, NABCI, NABIN, SMOC, Marine Protected Areas, and the Transboundary Species Project.
ACTION ITEM: Under the auspices of the Trilateral Committee, the Executive Committee approved a meeting with representatives from the three countries to discuss the Biodiversity Strategy to be held in late May.
Deadline: Late May, 2000.
Assignment: FWS/OIA will coordinate.