Thanks to 600 signatures on our petition, nearly 60 public comments, support from 13 partner organizations, and the leadership of our town representatives, we have an Ecosystem Stewardship Department!
Since 1979, the Alliance has worked to protect the wildlife, wild places, and community character of Jackson Hole. Every issue we work on, whether it be advocating for housing and conservation in Northern South Park, protecting our safe and quiet skies from commercial helicopter tours, or developing Safe Wildlife Crossings, would benefit from working with an ecosystem stewardship champion in local government. That’s why one of our most important policy agenda items is to lobby town and county to hire a dedicated conservation staff and create a new ecosystem stewardship department.
We are excited to announce that we took the first step towards this goal!
Earlier this year, the Alliance sent a joint letter signed by members of the Systems of Conservation group to the Town of Jackson and Teton County Commission asking them to create an Ecosystem Stewardship Department to address our community’s conservation values and needs. The Town of Jackson, led by Town Councilor Jonathan Schechter, answered that call to action and proposed funding an Ecosystem Stewardship Administrator position in its proposed Fiscal Year 2022 budget, thus creating the Ecosystem Stewardship Department.
The Alliance led a grassroots advocacy campaign, in partnership with Jonathan Schechter and the Systems of Conservation group, to get this department over the finish line when the town approved its budget on June 21. We are happy to report that as of July 1 the Town of Jackson officially adopted the FY22 budget and with it approved and funded the Ecosystem Stewardship Administrator (ESA) position and department (ESD). Everyone on the town council expressed support for this position and it passed unanimously on June 21.
Thank you all for your efforts to ensure this position got funded. Our hard work paid off and this is the first chance to celebrate during the ESA/ESD campaign. We look forward to working through the next phases of the campaign with you until an ESA is officially hired.
The next step is creating a job description, and getting it approved by the Council. It is important we stay engaged with this part of the position to help shape the department’s priorities. If we are able to move through the position description, job posting, hiring process, and then finding the right candidate, then ideally the ESA could start by October 1, or latest be delayed until the end of the year.