June 17, 2021
The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies thanks the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure for advancing the Wildlife Crossings Program with dedicated funding in the INVEST in America Act (H.R. 3684). Last week, the Committee favorably reported the transportation package by a vote of 38-26, advancing provisions to establish and fund a habitat connectivity program for aquatic and terrestrial species.
“The Wildlife Crossings Program is a shining example of the infrastructure innovations we need from Congress, and we commend Chairman DeFazio and Ranking Member Graves for their leadership,” said Sara Parker Pauley, Director of the Missouri Department of Conservation and President of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. “Wildlife vehicle collisions cost the American people over $8 billion dollars annually, and with more than 12,000 Species of Greatest Conservation Need identified across the states, we have to think beyond single issue solutions. As we look to revitalize our infrastructure, build resiliency for the future, and ensure the sustainable conservation of our precious fish and wildlife, these provisions offer an opportunity to achieve these goals and give Americans a proven return on investment by enabling and facilitating landscape level conservation.”
“We thank Chairman DeFazio and Congress for recognizing and addressing one of the most critical issues for species management and infrastructure, “said Curt Melcher, Director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “Every year in Oregon, 7,000 vehicle collisions with deer injure or kill our residents and wildlife. The projects made possible under this program will significantly increase public safety and dramatically improve habitat connectivity by creating safe movement and migration paths for all aquatic and terrestrial species. This comprehensive approach will transform how state agencies serve the public and manage our natural resources.”
Favorable reporting of the Wildlife Crossings Program within the INVEST in America Act follows unanimous advancement of similar provisions within the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021 (S. 1931) by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, for which we thank Chairman Carper and Ranking Member Capito. We strongly encourage enactment of these critical provisions in addition to the Sport Fish Restoration, Recreational Boating Safety, and Wildlife Restoration Act of 2021.