The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act Progresses in the U.S. Senate
Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department wants you to know more about the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, a bipartisan bill introduced in the House and the Senate which is considered to be the most important piece of conservation legislation in a generation. Both Representatives Ann Kuster and Chris Pappas are among the 173 cosponsors of the House bill, and yesterday, New Hampshire’s U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen joined in cosponsoring the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act in the Senate.
An unprecedented alliance of business, academic, tribal, and conservation leaders have united to provide 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 conservation.
“New Hampshire’s landscapes and wildlife are integral to local ecosystems and draw outdoors enthusiasts from around the world. Conserving these national treasures must be a top priority – particularly amid rapidly evolving climate change that’s upending ecosystems. State fish and wildlife agencies need robust resources to carry out that mission and protect priority species, which is exactly what this bipartisan bill provides,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’m proud to join this landmark conservation legislation to proactively conserve habitats and support healthy fish and wildlife populations. I hope the bipartisan momentum behind this bill continues so we can get this across the finish line.”
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will dedicate $1.3 billion annually to state fish and wildlife agencies to implement their science-based wildlife action plans. The goal is to provide dedicated funding so that state and tribal wildlife managers can proactively conserve fish and wildlife species of greatest conservation need before federal listing under the Endangered Species Act is warranted. An estimated $11 million dollars could benefit the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s work annually.
“Our fish and wildlife are among the Granite State’s most valuable resources and outdoor recreation including hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching are traditions that are part of our history and our future,” said New Hampshire Fish and Game Executive Director Scott Mason. “It is our responsibility, Fish and Game’s and every resident of New Hampshire, to do all we can to preserve species and their habitat for generations to come. This bill will help set us all on the right course for years to come. Proactive conservation is good for wildlife, good for taxpayers, good for business, and good for our communities.”
New Hampshire’s Wildlife Action Plan identifies over 750 important actions for the wildlife and wildlife habitats of New Hampshire, only a portion of which have adequate existing funding to implement. For example, undersized culverts under roadways can block passage of aquatic wildlife such as fish, reptiles, and freshwater mussels, but can also result in flooding and damage to human infrastructure. Working in partnership with other state and federal agencies, municipalities, and non-profit organizations, we can reduce the impact of this threat.
“We have a responsibility to ensure our diverse fish and wildlife resources are managed for future generations,” said Michael Marchand, Supervisor of the NH Fish and Game Department’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program. “The maintenance of diverse and healthy wildlife populations and their habitats through science-based management, along with educating the public about those resources, is a huge part of the Fish and Game mandate, and this funding would help enormously toward fulfilling this mission. This bill would provide critical funding for New Hampshire’s Wildlife Action Plan, which sets priorities for restoring and managing our wildlife, including threatened and endangered species,” said Marchand. “Passage would facilitate additional future wildlife success stories such as the return of the bald eagle to New Hampshire.”
Of the 500-plus vertebrate species and thousands of invertebrates that call New Hampshire home, 169 were identified as species of greatest conservation need in the Wildlife Action Plan, and 51 are listed as threatened or endangered in New Hampshire. Additional critical research and targeted conservation efforts are needed for many of these species. Ongoing efforts with New England cottontails and Blanding’s turtles could serve as a model for other species conservation efforts.
The Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson acts originally provided critical funding for fish and wildlife on the brink of extinction, but they are not a sustainable funding model for protection of all wildlife. Now there is an opportunity to pass legislation to protect our great natural heritage.
Visit www.OurNatureUSA.com to learn more about the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act so that future generations may enjoy the same abundant fish, wildlife, and outdoor recreation opportunities that exist today.