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  Presentation     2. A.    
Regular BOS Meeting
Meeting Date: 03/10/2020  
Submitted For: James Menlove Submitted By: Sherry Grice, Management Associate
Department: County Manager  

Presentation on the QuadState Local Governments Authority (QSLGA) and its activities.
Background Information
The QSLGA is a Joint Exercise of Powers Authority established between eight counties, and one city in four Western states. The QSLGA's Board of Directors is comprised of elected officials representing each of the members. The QSLGA was organized to provide a multi-county voice on federal natural resource management and public lands issues primarily in the Mojave Desert region. The QSLGA advances its policy priorities through legislative and regulatory advocacy and analysis, input regarding land use plans and decisions, and legal action.

The QSLGA is interested in resource management and balanced multiple use of public lands and public land resources. The QSLGA also represents the appropriate integrated consideration of private land values by the federal and state agencies. The QSLGA seeks implementation of rational resource management strategies that provide for balancing the needs of natural resources with the interests and needs of residents and constituents. It also recognizes and advocates the interests of local government as a partner in providing services and infrastructure to the region. It fully supports science-based resource management and conservation. The QSLGA supports constructive dialogue among the federal and state land and wildlife management agencies to ensure sensitivity to regulatory impacts upon local government.

The Sonoran Desert Tortoise is a distinct species from the Mohave Desert Tortoise which is listed as an endangered species. The Mohave Tortoise’s range is west and north of the Colorado River primarily in California, Nevada and the northwest corner of Arizona. The Sonoran Tortoise’s range is east and south of the Colorado River in Arizona and Mexico including portions of eleven Arizona Counties.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW) was petitioned in 2008 to list the Sonoran Desert Tortoise and from 2010 to 2014 considered listing the species as warranted. In October 2015 after careful consideration of the best scientific data, the USFW issued a decision that the species was not warranted for listing under the Endangered Species Act. The QSLGA, representing La Paz and Mohave Counties, was very involved in working with USFW and other entities to ensure that accurate data was used in making this decision.

In September 2019, the WildEarth Guardians and the Western Watersheds Project filed a civil lawsuit challenging the 2015 decision. Additional Arizona counties as members of the QSLGA would enhance our effectiveness as this lawsuit progresses and on other issues such as the proposed listing of the Joshua Tree as an endangered species. Member counties also receive the benefit of representation and information garnered from the QSLGA's involvement with a broad spectrum of organizations related to planning and conservation on Federal lands including Multispecies Conservation Plans, Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, the Arizona Interagency Desert Tortoise Team, Desert Tortoise Management Oversight Group and from advocacy for counties related to PILT(Payment in Lieu of Taxes), SRS (Secure Rural Schools), R.S. 2477 roads and other related matters.
Gerald Hillier, Executive Director of the QSLGA, has requested to make a presentation to the Board of Supervisors on the following:

1) The desert tortoise, where litigation has recently been filed by environmental groups seeking court ordered listing under the Endangered Species Act, where U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last found listing was "not warranted.

2) Proposed legislation regarding county road rights-of-ways on federal land.  The QSLGA has been seeking legislation, supported by NACo, for four years to provide an administrative means of confirming these historic rights-of-ways.

3) Invitation for Gila County to join as a member of the QSLGA.
It would be beneficial for the Board of Supervisors to receive this information from the QSLGA.
It is recommended that Mr. Hillier provide the information as stated above.
Suggested Motion
Presentation on the QuadState Local Governments Authority and its activities regarding the Sonoran Desert Tortoise and its potential listing as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and proposed legislation regarding county road rights-of-ways on federal land. (Gerald Hillier)

Tortoise Presentation
2nd Portion Tortoise Presentation
Historic Rites RS2477
Updated Q&A RS 2477
S. 468 Hearing
Quadstate Information

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