SYMP 3-1 - Tales from the trenches: Funding science engagement with endangered species management and policy

Monday, August 7, 2017: 1:30 PM
Portland Blrm 253, Oregon Convention Center
Amanda G. Stanley, Wilburforce Foundation
Background/Question/Methods: Wilburforce Foundation is a philanthropic organization which supports land, water, and wildlife conservation efforts in western North America. Our efforts to conserve biodiversity depend on evidence-based laws and policies like the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The ESA is unique in that it mandates decisions be based on science first and foremost. While this seems straightforward, in reality we see disagreements about values and ideologies get transferred into debates around science. In such controversial situations, how do you best help the science community engage?

Results/Conclusions: Wilburforce Foundation works on this problem from many different directions. We help support research on particular species for decisions around listing, recovery planning, and setting critical habitat; and we also support research on how science is used in decision-making under the ESA. We provide training and support for scientists engaging with decision-makers, advocates, and local communities. While we have great stories for how this has worked in the past, as attacks on the ESA escalate and decisions become more controversial, scientists will need even more support in navigating these challenging waters.