Statement from the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies on the Introduction of the America’s Wildlife Habitat Conservation Act

February 29, 2024

Today, Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR), introduced the America’s Wildlife Habitat Conservation Act (AWHCA), a comprehensive bill that seeks to enhance fish and wildlife habitat across the country.

“The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies appreciates Chairman Westerman’s commitment to providing funding to state fish and wildlife agencies for wildlife habitat restoration in the America’s Wildlife Habitat Conservation Act (AWHCA),” said Chuck Sykes, Director of the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries and President of the Association.

The AWHCA would authorize $300 million in annual funding for the next five years to each state and territorial fish and wildlife agency as well as the District of Columbia to help conserve and manage fish and wildlife species, including at-risk species and those already listed as threatened or endangered. States have developed comprehensive conservation plans that outline important habitat projects and actions that will aid in species recovery. The bill also encourages states and federal agencies to work collaboratively with private landowners to achieve positive conservation outcomes.

“The America's Wildlife Habitat Conservation Act will empower states and local communities to use proven practices to restore and maintain habitat, which will benefit species in their state’s wildlife action plans. Good habitat management is integral to wildlife management and without it, species have little chance of maintaining sustainable populations and surviving. By strengthening relationships between states, tribes, private landowners and the federal government, we can empower them to implement proactive habitat conservation that will make a difference where it counts: on the ground across our abundant outdoors. I’d like to thank my colleagues who have supported this logical and forward-thinking legislation, and I look forward to working with them and members across the aisle to move this commonsense, financially responsible bill through the legislative process and ultimately into law." – House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.)

“This bill is a positive step forward to providing funding that state agencies can use to deliver habitat conservation for fish and wildlife on public and private land,” added Sykes. “It is clear that the Chairman has a vision for conserving habitat, and we appreciate that his legislation will provide states with a set of tools to help us accomplish this work.”


The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies represents North America’s fish and wildlife agencies to advance sound, science-based management and conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats in the public interest. The Association represents its state agency members on Capitol Hill and before the Administration to advance favorable fish and wildlife conservation policy and funding and works to ensure that all entities work collaboratively on the most important issues. The Association also provides member agencies with coordination services on cross-cutting as well as species-based programs that range from birds, fish habitat and energy development to climate change, wildlife action plans, conservation education, leadership training and international relations. Working together, the Association’s member agencies are ensuring that North American fish and wildlife management has a clear and collective voice.