April 7, 2022
Today, the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies was excited to witness the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee markup to advance the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (S.2372). The Association applauds Chairman Carper (D-DE) and Ranking Member Capito (R-WV) for their leadership in bringing S.2372 up for a vote in the full committee and looks forward to working with members of the committee to advance this important legislation that has 32 bipartisan cosponsors toward final passage in the Senate.
State fish and wildlife agencies have identified over 12,000 species in need of proactive conservation to prevent them from becoming threatened or endangered. The bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, reintroduced by Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) in July 2021, is a solution to this critical problem. The Association would like to thank Senator Heinrich and Senator Blunt for their leadership on this bill.
This bipartisan legislation will dedicate $1.3 billion annually to state fish and wildlife agencies to implement their science-based wildlife action plans and an additional $97.5 million for tribal fish and wildlife managers to conserve fish and wildlife on tribal lands and waters. The Senate bill as adopted by the committee includes a federal funding component for wildlife species recovery planning that builds on the collaborative partnerships with states, Tribes, and private landowners to help move additional species off the federal Endangered Species Act list. The Senate bill complements the House version (H.R. 2773), introduced in April 2021, which has gained strong, bipartisan co-sponsorship due to its innovative approach to solving America’s wildlife crisis, with the current list of co-sponsors growing to more than 171 members.
Now that the bill has passed out of committee, it will be ready for floor votes in the House and Senate.
“The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act represents a strong commitment toward restoring and managing the most imperiled species within our states’ borders,” said Tony Wasley, Director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife and President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “The bill would help expedite the recovery of thousands of at-risk species through proactive, collaborative conservation, and the economic value of that conservation to states and to taxpayers can’t be overstated either.”
“The outdoors have once again proven to be a real uniting force. I’m so proud of the bipartisan leadership and widespread support that is moving the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act forward. Senator Blunt has been a great partner and EPW Chairman Tom Carper and Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito helped us advance this landmark conservation legislation. I am confident that if we can keep up our momentum, we will pass this bill through the full Senate with broad, bipartisan support,” said Heinrich, member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “Without enough resources, state, and Tribal wildlife agencies have been forced to pick and choose which species are worth saving. Instead of doing the proactive work that is necessary to maintain healthy wildlife populations on the front end, they have been forced into using reactive measures to rescue species after they are listed as threatened or endangered. We urgently need to change this paradigm and save thousands of species with a solution that matches the magnitude of the challenge. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act offers us a constructive path forward. Passing RAWA into law will mean our grandchildren will be able to experience the same rich and abundant American wildlife—from bumblebees to bison—that we have been so lucky to grow up with.”
“Protecting habitats and wildlife is not only important to states like Missouri – with some of the best hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation in the country – it’s important to communities all across the nation,” said Blunt. “By encouraging states, territories, and Tribes to make significant contributions to voluntary conservation efforts, we can preserve our nation’s wildlife for future generations. I appreciate the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies for being a strong advocate in this effort, and I look forward to their continued partnership as Senator Heinrich and I keep working to get this landmark legislation to the president’s desk.”
“This Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is the single most exciting wildlife conservation bill in a generation,” said Ron Regan, Executive Director of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. “This legislation will benefit nature, outdoor recreation and our overall quality of life, leaving a lasting conservation legacy for all Americans.”
These critical efforts are supported by the Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife, which formed in 2017 as the national coalition to secure funding for much needed conservation of our fish and wildlife resources. The Alliance was built upon the strong partnership created by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish & Wildlife Resources. The Alliance consists of members representing more than a trillion dollars of economic impact, millions of non-exportable jobs, and tens of millions of members and consumers across the country, all who rely on healthy fish and wildlife populations. Our goal is to partner with all Americans to conserve our precious fish and wildlife and natural heritage for future generations. Learn more at OurNatureUSA.com.