From Backcountry Hunters & Anglers:
WASHINGTON – Targeted species conservation would receive a major annual funding boost via the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, bipartisan legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Roy Blunt (R-MO). The bill annually directs $1.3 billion to state fish and wildlife agencies and an additional $97.5 million to tribal fish and wildlife managers for management of at-risk species under science-based wildlife action plans, all while also supporting critical conservation work broadly, improving fish and wildlife habitat and bolstering the nation’s outdoor recreation economy.
The Senate legislation follows the April introduction of a House bill by Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE).
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has partnered with a broad coalition of outdoor interests, including numerous hunting and fishing groups, to support the pressing need for robust, ongoing investments in key species, including those important to sportsmen and women. Today, BHA President and CEO Land Tawney stressed the continued need for decisive action on this front, commending the Senate introduction and thanking the bill’s cosponsors.
“For more than a century, hunters and anglers have been a vital source of funding for wildlife conservation, efforts that have produced long-term, quantifiable gains for critters important to our traditions, as well as at-risk species,” said Tawney.
“The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, now introduced in the Senate as well as the House of Representatives, would continue that tradition by dedicating nearly $1.4 billion each and every year to help state, territorial and tribal fish and wildlife management agencies keep at-risk species out of the emergency room,” Tawney continued.
“Backcountry Hunters & Anglers members have been steadfast in our support of this legislation,” said Tawney, “and we thank Senators Heinrich and Blunt, as well as Representatives Dingell and Fortenberry and other forward-looking lawmakers, for their commitment to providing resources and supporting the critical work of wildlife managers. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
State, territorial and tribal wildlife agencies have demonstrated the ability to successfully restore habitat for multiple game species, including Tule elk in California, harlequin ducks in Montana, northern pintails in Kansas and many others. While not all at-risk species are game species, they share the same habitat with species like mallards, mule deer, pronghorn and native trout. Improving habitat for one species benefits all of them, including wild game.
“Legislation, conservation funding and the committed and informed on-the-ground work by wildlife managers have a proud history of great success in restoring habitat for both game species and non-game species,” stated Tawney. “The moment for the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act has arrived. We look forward to Congress taking action, investing in species that haven’t benefited from past efforts and advancing this popular legislation to the president’s desk.”
The bill’s introduction in the 117th Congress resulted from hard work by a broad coalition of stakeholders, the Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife, to address at-risk species while also improving hunting and fishing opportunities. Comprised of outdoor industry leaders, fish and wildlife agency officials, conservation groups, business interests, and hunters and anglers, the coalition is committed to achieving comprehensive conservation funding legislation in the United States.
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