A Bipartisan Bill to Recover Wildlife and Unite Americans Introduced in the Senate
Today, an unprecedented alliance of business, academic, tribal and conservation leaders gather to applaud the Senate introduction of a solution to one of America’s greatest threats—the decline of our fish and wildlife and their natural habitats. Scientists estimate that one-third of wildlife species in the United States are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered without much needed funding for their proactive conservation. Healthy, sustainable fish and wildlife populations drive many sectors of our economy, especially the $788 billion outdoor recreation industry.
The solution to recovering our wildlife and bolstering our economy is passage of the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (S.2372), introduced by Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Roy Blunt (R-MO). The Senate version of the bill, already introduced in the House as (H.R.2773), will dedicate $1.3 billion annually to state fish and wildlife agencies to implement their science-based wildlife action plans and an additional $97.5 million for tribal fish and wildlife managers to conserve fish and wildlife on tribal lands and waters. This will provide dedicated funding, so state and tribal wildlife managers can proactively conserve fish and wildlife species of greatest conservation need in a voluntary, non-regulatory manner before federal listing under the Endangered Species Act is warranted. This bill will get Americans back to work immediately, creating an estimated 33,000 jobs each year restoring natural resources and bolstering community resilience while protecting our valuable natural infrastructure.
“Protecting America’s fish and wildlife habitat means conserving the creatures we love before they ever become imperiled,” said Heinrich. “After all, our children deserve to inherit the full breadth of American wildlife, from bumble bees to bison, that we know today. This legislation will make that possible.”
“Missouri is home to some of the best hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation our country has to offer,” said Blunt. “We can better protect our land, waterways, and wildlife by encouraging states, territories, and Tribes to make significant contributions to voluntary conservation efforts. I’m proud to help introduce this bill that will help preserve our nation’s wildlife for future generations.”
Proactive conservation is good for wildlife, good for taxpayers, good for business and good for our communities. By directing funds to implement State Wildlife Action Plans through the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, America will be fueling shovel ready projects that immediately create jobs in a sector with one of the highest returns on investment and supporting continued world class outdoor recreation opportunities. Now that the bill is in play in both chambers, advancement will be expedited.
“This nation is blessed with abundant fish and wildlife resources that provide enjoyment as well as essential services to people and communities. Our state agencies have the primary responsibility of conserving our treasured natural resources and with this dedicated funding, states and our many partners will be able to make sure our fish and wildlife are healthy for years to come,” said Sara Parker Pauley, Director of the Missouri Department of Conservation and President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “This bipartisan legislation transcends political boundaries and brings diverse stakeholders to the table to work on real conservation solutions. We thank Senators Blunt and Heinrich for their leadership and commitment to this important bill that benefits our nature, outdoor recreation, our overall health, clean air and water and our economy.”
Not since enactment of the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson acts, that provided critical funding for fish and wildlife on the brink of extinction, have we had an opportunity to pass legislation of such magnitude to the overall health and wellbeing of our wildlife and our planet Earth. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is the most important conservation legislation in a generation.
“The historic, bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is by far the most important piece of wildlife legislation in the past half century,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “At a time when more than one-third of wildlife species are at heightened risk of extinction, this critical legislation will help recover thousands of at-risk species through proactive, collaborative efforts in every state, territory, and Tribal nation, creating jobs while preventing extinctions. We applaud the incredible bipartisan leadership of Senator Heinrich and Senator Blunt, and their House partners Rep. Dingell and Rep. Fortenberry, who are all demonstrating once again that wildlife conservation can unite all Americans.”
“The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) is grateful for the leadership of Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Co-Chair Sen. Martin Heinrich and CSC Member Sen. Blunt for introducing the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act,” said CSF’s Jeff Crane. “This 21st century, proactive conservation initiative is critical to turning the corner on fish and wildlife conservation before more costly measures are necessary.”
“For Tribes, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is not just about an increase to fish and wildlife base funding, it is base funding,” said Elveda Martinez, President of the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society. “It’s a game changer, in the way Tribes operate, manage, participate and assert self-governance in fish and wildlife stewardship. With the support of this legislation, the Tribes stand ready and committed to ensure that wildlife endures for all of our future generations.”
A lot is at stake if we do not act soon. Every American benefits when we have healthy and accessible fish and wildlife. We need to start down a new path where we invest proactively in conservation rather than reacting to emergencies that cost taxpayers more than preventative measures like this one.
The Alliance for America’s Fish & Wildlife has expanded out of the strong partnership and recommendations created by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish & Wildlife Resources, consisting of members representing the outdoor recreation, retail and manufacturing sector, the energy and automotive industries, private landowners, educational institutions, sportsmen’s and other conservation groups and state, tribal and federal fish and wildlife agencies.
Please visit OurNatureUSA.com and urge your U.S. Senators and Representative to support passage of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act to address our biodiversity crisis and allow future generations to enjoy the same abundant fish, wildlife and outdoor recreation opportunities that we have today—for Our Nature, Our Nation and Our Future.
The Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife formed in 2017 to secure funding for much needed conservation of our most precious natural resources, our fish and wildlife. The Alliance was built upon the strong partnership created by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish & Wildlife Resources. The Alliance consists of members representing more than a trillion dollars of economic impact, millions of non-exportable jobs, and tens of millions of members and consumers across the country, all who rely on healthy fish and wildlife populations. Our goal is to partner with all Americans to conserve our precious fish and wildlife and natural heritage for future generations. Learn more at OurNatureUSA.com.
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