WASHINGTON, DC – On this day, 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.”
Not since enactment of the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson acts, that provided critical funding for primarily game fish and wildlife, 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.
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.