Department of the Interior

DOI News Header
August 15, 2005
Contact: Dan DuBray
(202) 208-6415
Interior Leaders to Promote New Environmentalism at White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation
DOI Cosponsors National Summit to Spur Citizen Stewardship

WASHINGTON - Interior Secretary Gale Norton will lead a delegation of top departmental officials at the upcoming White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation, a national assembly aimed at strengthening conservation partnerships with states, tribes and communities and promoting citizen stewardship.

"Ultimately, the people who are best able to take care of the land are those who live on the land, work on the land, and love the land," Secretary Norton said in announcing Interior's participation in the conference. "They have the knowledge, skills and motivation to care for the land. We need to empower them."

The Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency are co-hosting the event at the St. Louis Convention Center in St. Louis, Missouri, from Aug. 29 to 31, 2005. Five Cabinet Secretaries are invited to attend.

"The goal of this conference is to energize citizen-conservationists and to explore with local communities, organizations and landowners how to enhance cooperative conservation," Norton explained. "The conference reflects the President's continuing commitment to the New Environmentalism - to ensure that the federal government listens to the concerns, ideas and insights of our citizens and works closely with them in restoring and conserving our natural heritage."

The Interior delegation includes Lynn Scarlett, the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget; Craig Manson, Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks; Rebecca Watson, Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management; Mark Limbaugh, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science; Tom Weimer, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science; Fran Mainella, Director of the National Park Service; Kathleen Clarke, Director of the Bureau of Land Management; Matt Hogan, Acting Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service; Johnnie Burton, Director of the Minerals Management Service; and John Keys, Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

President Bush called for the conference last year in his Executive Order directing federal agencies to promote cooperative conservation by actively working in partnership with states, local communities, businesses, non-profit groups and private citizens. The goal is to help empower the American people as citizen stewards to protect and enhance wildlife, lands, and waters across the Nation.

In response to the President's call, citizens are coming to the national conference from cities, reservations, and rural towns; from Alaska to Florida, from Maine to California. They represent conservation groups and companies; local, state, tribal, and federal agencies; recreation enthusiasts, ranchers, farmers, hunters and anglers.

The conference will bring together citizens and decision makers who can advance cooperative conservation by identifying ideas for future conservation and environmental policies and initiatives; facilitating the exchange of information and advice for successful partnerships; and institutionalizing cooperative conservation to enhance on-the-ground conservation results.

Case studies will highlight some of the very best examples of cooperative conservation, focusing on what can be achieved when using collaborative strategies to address conservation, natural resource and environmental issues. Presentations include cooperative conservation in metropolitan and rural areas and initiatives that restore and conserve wildlife and habitats as well as coastal and marine areas.

In facilitated discussions participants will examine some of the most challenging aspects of working collaboratively, including how to build successful partnerships and expand the role of tribes, states and communities in cooperative conservation; how to improve certainty and enhance incentives for landowners and others to conserve lands, water and wildlife; and how to coordinate conservation activities across jurisdictions.

This is the first White House national conservation conference in four decades. Theodore Roosevelt held the first conference on conservation almost a century ago. Subsequently, Presidents Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson held summits that focused on conservation and natural resource stewardship.

Since then the modern edifice of environmental statutes emerged; and our Nation's conservation commitment has grown. While these laws and regulations can reduce harm to the environment, they are less effective in inspiring citizens to actively engage in conservation to restore wetlands, waterways and wildlife. To continue environmental progress in the 21st century, the nation needs to embrace the idea that enduring conservation springs from the actions of citizens - in their backyards, communities and workplaces - alone and in partnerships with government.

Media with valid press credentials are invited to register for the conference online For more information on the conference agenda, access For all media logistics questions, please contact Megan Barnett, 202-456-6224.