February 10, 2020
The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies is pleased to announce the passage of critical habitat legislation that reauthorizes funding for projects in the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay. The Association would like to thank and congratulate the bills’ sponsors, Representative Elaine Luria (D-VA) for the Chesapeake Bay Program Reauthorization Act (H.R. 1620) and Representative David Joyce (R-OH) for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019 (H.R. 4031), both of which passed the full House with bipartisan approval.
“Secure, steady funding streams are key to the success of conservation programs and partnerships,” said Tim Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. “As a Great Lake state that also constitutes 35% of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, we see first-hand the need for these initiatives and are proud to work with our conservation partners in these nationally important watersheds. Through this funding, we can continue to collaborate with our regional partners in fighting the spread of invasive species; restoring critical habitat; and ensuring clean water for people, fish, and wildlife throughout the region.”
While the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019 now moves to the Senate for action, similar provisions for the Chesapeake Bay Program Reauthorization Act is included in the America’s Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Act (S. 3051), which unanimously passed the Senate last month.
“The overwhelmingly bipartisan support for these measures is a reminder that conservation requires working partnerships across all levels of community and government,” said Secretary Kelly Hepler of South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks and President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
In addition to funding for Chesapeake Bay conservation and restoration, the ACE Act includes a reauthorization for the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund and codifies the National Fish Habitat Partnership program, as well as establishes a collaborative task force to address the growing threat of Chronic Wasting Disease.
The Association is committed to continuing to work with our conservation partners and members of the House to ensure continued funding of the Chesapeake Bay program and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, in part by bringing the ACE Act to the House floor for immediate passage in its current form.
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.