Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Biological Assessment (Endangered Species Act) Workshops Conducted by Ecological Services
Southwest Region, October 7, 2005
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New Mexico Ecological Services Field Office (NMESFO) staff, Arizona Ecological Services Field Office (AESFO) staff and other agencies conducted two interagency workshops on biological assessments and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in Phoenix, Arizona, October 3 through 7, 2005.  The Southwest Endangered Species Act (SWESA) Team of the Southwest Strategy and the National Conservation Training Center prepared and updated teaching materials for the course.  The training cadre consisted of staff from the NMESFO, AESFO, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Navy from the Department of Defense (DOD), and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).  Carol Erwin, Area Manager of the Phoenix Area Office, Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), and the Field Supervisor of the AESFO welcomed participants and conveyed the importance of the workshops for assisting with ESA consultations.  Carol was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the SWESA Team for her office’s funding of last year’s Biological Assessment Workshops for the Southwest Strategy.  Logistical support for the workshops was provided by the AESFO.  A total of 61 biologists completed the workshops, representing Native American Tribes, Arizona State agencies, Bureau of Indian Affairs, BLM, Reclamation, NRCS, DOD, and private consultants.

At the beginning of each class, a questionnaire is distributed to assess implementation of the streamlining process developed by the SWESA Team in 1999.  Participants with at least several years of experience implementing the ESA expressed increased satisfaction with the section 7 process in the Southwest, in both informal and formal consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service.  Course evaluations after the class, demonstrated that the workshops were very highly rated and that the participants would recommend them to colleagues.  Additional Biological Assessment Workshops will be needed in Arizona and New Mexico, and interest in holding these workshops in other States has been expressed.

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov
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