New grants to aid endangered species protection investments

Close up of small green grasshopper on person's hand

The ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes recently secured two grants, one with the Electric Power Research Institute and one with Monsanto, to develop respective tools that will help enable each organization to estimate the range of potential operational, reputational, legal and regulatory risks associated with compliance with the U.S. Endangered Species Act for their respective industries.

The Endangered Species Act mandates that the US federal government take actions to conserve threatened and endangered species and their associated ecosystems. Critical the success of the ESA is engaging with the private sector to build understanding how biodiversity conservation and business practices can be complementary and synergistic.

These tools will include an evidence-based comprehensive framework for assessing pre-compliance and compliance costs. It will not only provide critical value to decision-making in the private sector (e.g., providing cost-efficiencies, reduction of regulatory risk, enhanced stakeholder reputation), but will also increase awareness of sustainable practices.

For both the electric power and agricultural industries, it is especially important to estimate the costs of compliance concerning actions affecting species already listed or under consideration for ESA listing. Understanding these costs would allow companies to make more informed decisions around regulatory risk and help to ensure protection for endangered species.

Research Associate Gwen Iacona will be spearheading these efforts. She has a PhD from the University of Florida and postdoctoral experience at the University of Queensland. Gwen brings extensive experience in quantitative ecology and structured decision-making for conservation science.