November 14, 2022
The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (Association) applauds the Biden-Harris Administration (Administration) for awarding more than $90 million in grant funding for conservation and restoration projects through the America the Beautiful Challenge (Challenge). Last week, the Administration announced that 55 new grants across 42 states, 3 U.S. territories, and 14 Tribal Nations have been selected for locally led ecosystem restoration projects under the public-private grant program.
“We thank the Administration for supporting the critical work of State Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Tribes, and their partners,” said Curt Melcher, Director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and President of the Association. “Bold actions like the Challenge are needed to help us combat the ever increasing threats to our nation’s species and habitats while ensuring everyone has access to healthy, thriving lands and waters.”
Administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Challenge brings together funds from the Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Defense to fuel on-the-ground conservation work undertaken by state, Tribal, NGO, and private working land partners.
“These grants are coming at a critical point in our nation’s conservation history, the severity of which has just been underscored by the findings of the 2022 State of the Birds Report,” said Ron Regan, Executive Director of the Association. “Large-scale, voluntary conservation projects led by local communities are key to restoring and securing at-risk species such as those identified in State Wildlife Action Plans.”
Leveraging over $50 million in matching contributions this year, the Challenge will provide more than $140 million for conservation projects that support increased connectivity, enhanced habitats, and abundant populations while stimulating the $862 billion outdoor recreation economy.
The Association thanks the Administration and participating partners for recognizing the need to empower State, Territorial, and Tribal resource managers, and urges Congress to build on this commitment with swift passage of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.
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.