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Recommendation 4: Implement Joint Secretarial Order 3206 on the Endangered Species Act (ESA)

Problem

Many questions about how to interpret and apply the Endangered Species Act within the unique cultural and legal framework of Indian reservations were largely resolved with the adoption of the 1997 Joint Secretarial Order: American Indian Tribal Rights, Federal-Tribal Trust Responsibilities, and the Endangered Species Act. Unfortunately, this framework for legal and political decision-making has not yet received full and cooperative implementation across the country.

Goals

Foster implementation of the ESA on Indian reservations in accordance with Joint Secretarial Order 3206 (1997).

Recommendation

Ensure that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries faithfully implement the Joint Secretarial Order and use it for establishing cooperative relationships and resolving natural-resource-based conflicts between the federal government and tribes.