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Recommendation 3: Co-manage natural resources

Problem

Populations of plants and wildlife of conservation importance often cut across jurisdictional boundaries. Moreover, these resources are often protected under treaties, executive orders, and legal precedent. Co-management, where tribes, states, and/or federal agencies work together to manage across ownerships, has proven to be an effective approach for managing wide-ranging species and large landscapes. However, we currently lack a comprehensive mandate to support collaboration between federal agencies and tribes.

Goal

To adopt co-management policies and provide funding for natural resources across jurisdictional boundaries. This action would recognize tribes as sovereign entities with a critical role in maintaining or restoring wide-ranging plant or wildlife populations, and/or those that cross-jurisdictional boundaries.

Recommendation

Create or clarify existing bilateral agreements between tribes and all federal agencies — specifically, those within the Departments of Commerce, Interior, Agriculture, Defense, and with the Environmental Protection Agency — to support the co-management of natural resources, where appropriate. These agreements should focus on cross-jurisdictional efforts and provide adequate and equitable funding.