Recovering America’s Wildlife Act

Summary

All 50 States, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia are mandated to develop a State Wildlife Action Plan to identify key conservation needs in each respective state and territory. These action plans have identified nearly 12,000 species in the greatest need of conservation. CSF is a member of the Alliance for America’s Wildlife Act, which is working to provide additional funding to conserve the full array of fish and wildlife and their associated habitats. The Recovering America’s Fish and Wildlife will provide $1.3 billion in additional funding to state fish and wildlife agencies to address the issues identified in their respective State Wildlife Action Plans.

Background

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act comes in response to the recommendations developed by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Fish and Wildlife Resources (BRP), which is co-chaired by former Wyoming Governor, David Freudenthal, and John L. Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops. The Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife now represents the broad coalition developed by the BRP including members from the conservation and sportsmen’s organizations, outdoor recreational retail and manufacturing sectors, energy and automotive industries, private landowners, educational institutions, and state fish and wildlife agencies. Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President (CSF) Jeff Crane is a member of the BRP, and CSF is currently a member of the Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife.

H.R. 4647 will not establish any new taxes at the expense of taxpayers, or at the expense of the businesses that are currently contributing anywhere from $5 billion to $12 billion in royalties from the development of energy and mineral resources on federal lands and waters.

The idea of wildlife conservation was originally developed by hunters and anglers who recognized the need to establish game laws and programs to protect our natural resources. As a result, the “user-pays, public-benefits” American System of Conservation Funding was developed through the enactment of the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts. Not since the enactment of these Acts have we had an opportunity to pass legislation of such importance to ensure the future of healthy fish and wildlife populations. 

Today, sportsmen’s contributions through license fees and the excise taxes collected under the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts often provide approximately 80 percent of the funding for state fish and wildlife agencies. This new funding source will provide additional money to state fish and wildlife agencies to address the species in greatest need of conservation efforts.

Recent Activity

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R. 4647) was introduced in the United States House of Representatives by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Members Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (NE) and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI). This bipartisan legislation aims to meet the increasing for proactive wildlife conservation funding the full array of our nation’s fish and wildlife resources and the habitats on which they depend. Specifically, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will annually redirect $1.3 billion in funding in existing revenue from royalties collected from onshore and offshore energy and mineral development on federal lands and waters to be used to provide proactive funding for state-based wildlife conservation.  By leveraging a 25% match from the states and territories, this state-based wildlife conservation funding program will help ensure the future of the 12,000 species efforts that have been identified in the State Wildlife Action Plans as in the greatest need of conservation efforts. 

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