Several common themes were brought up in the working group discussion.
I. The movement needs clear goals and incentives.
- What are the motivations that drive conservation activities?
- How can we ensure consistent funding and the accessibility of resources?
- What role do financial incentives play?
- What role should funding sources like the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund play?
- Red tape needs to be reduced and there should be better coordination of federal, state and local government requirements.
- Conservation efforts would be more effective and efficient if government requirements could be streamlined and refocused on managing for conservation vs. managing for processes.
- State agencies should play a role as facilitators, not managers of private conservation efforts.
- Agencies provide a social infrastructure to support conservation.
- Except in instances of legal or regulatory requirements, state government should serve as an information resource and reference for private conservation groups, but not take a leading role in managing or funding private conservation projects.[*]
- Certification programs should be meaningful and integrated with conservation efforts, but not punitive.
Comments suggested during editing of this paper noted that some members of the working group “fully support the state and federal government funding private conservation as cost share/incentives, but maybe as a lower priority or narrower focus (threatened and endangered species/habitats for example not found within public ownership or practices that improve water quality) for these fully funded conservation projects compared to the public land/ water resources.”
- As with meeting other government process requirements, certification programs should not just insert another layer of burdensome or bureaucratic process.
- Certification programs should be based in scientific findings and market-based demands and should be connected as closely as possible with the realities on-the-ground.