The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies Applauds the Senate and House Bipartisan Dear Colleague Letters Requesting Funding for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program

June 17, 2019

The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies commends the support and leadership of Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Congressman Don Young (R-AK), who were joined by 209 of their colleagues on letters to the leadership of the U.S Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittees on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Interior Appropriations.  The Senate and House letters, respectively, are in support of the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program which provides a critical investment to sustain our nation’s most vulnerable fish and wildlife.  In the letters, Members urge the Subcommittees to provide the most robust funding possible for the Program, while also recognizing the fiscal constraints that the nation is under. 

The State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program is the nation’s core program to prevent fish and wildlife from becoming endangered.  This program is the only federal grant program available to states, territories, District of Columbia and tribes to conserve more than 12,000 species identified by states as species in greatest conservation need.

“The State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program provides needed assistance to states and federally-recognized Tribes in the development and implementation of activities that benefit wildlife,” said Senator Crapo.  “The hard work behind many conservation efforts in Idaho relies on these critical investments to sustain our nation’s most vulnerable fish and wildlife.  I appreciate the efforts of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies for their leadership on the stewardship of our natural resources.”

“State and tribal wildlife agencies serve as the frontline in wildlife conservation,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.  “The State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program has the important charge of supporting those agencies’ efforts to protect wildlife and habitats, helping ensure at-risk species are spared threats to their survival.  With the United Nations warning that a million species could face extinction in the decades ahead, it’s never been more important to invest in conservation.”

States, tribes and their partners have used funding from this program that is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to combat invasive species, protect natural areas, restore habitat, conduct research, implement monitoring programs and facilitate partnerships with landowners to protect declining species and habitats on public and private lands.

Last month, the U.S House of Representatives Appropriations Committee approved $70 million for the program in FY2020, a $6 million increase over last year’s funding level.

“Investing in our fish and wildlife is a critical part of maintaining our open spaces for the next generation,” said Congressman Mike Thompson. “That’s why I was proud to lead the effort in the House to support the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants, important programs that invest in conservation, help protect species from becoming endangered, and keep our wildlife habitats healthy for decades.”

“The State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program is critical to the conservation of at-risk wildlife and ecosystems in my home state of Alaska and in districts across our nation,” said Congressman Don Young. “I proudly partnered with my friend Rep. Mike Thompson to ensure the program receives robust funding for the coming year. Alaskans know how important it is that our unique environmental resources are properly managed and protected for generations to come. I look forward to working to ensure this important program continues to be funded so that conservation groups and state agencies have the resources to manage fish, wildlife, and their environment – in Alaska and across the country.”

“States often bear the primary responsibility for wildlife management,” said Ed Carter, President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Executive Director of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. “Through the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program, the federal government works in partnership with the states to fund critical conservation programs that protect declining species and habitats on public and private lands and prevent species from becoming endangered.”

The U.S. Congress created the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program in 2000 to address the longstanding need to conserve declining fish and wildlife. Since the inception of the program, over $1 billion has been appropriated to state, territorial and District of Columbia fish and wildlife agencies. The program led to the development of State Wildlife Action Plans, the blueprints for conserving our nation's fish and wildlife and preventing endangered species, and is the principal source of funding for their implementation.



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.