On June 7, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation’s (CSF) Federal Relations Coordinator Taylor Schmitz attended the 2018 National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Annual Meeting in Chantilly, Virginia, to discuss H.R. 4647, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA).
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 need for proactive wildlife conservation funding for the full array of our nation’s fish and wildlife resources and the habitats on which they depend. RAWA would redirect $1.3 billion of existing revenue – no new taxes – from royalties collected from onshore and offshore energy and mineral development on federal lands and waters to provide proactive funding for the over 12,000 “species of greatest conservation need” identified through State Wildlife Action Plans.
The idea is to proactively address at risk fish and wildlife species now before potential costs, and potentially restrictive measures, to restore or recover species increase over time due to insufficient funding.
During the meeting, Schmitz discussed CSF and NWF’s engagement to advance RAWA in the 115th Congress. Specifically, Schmitz highlighted CSF’s efforts to advance this legislation by leveraging the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC), and the Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus (GSC). Through working with NWF at the federal level, and the state level through NASC, GSC, and NWF’s State Affiliates, H.R. 4647 has garnered the support of over 60 bipartisan cosponsors.
CSF and NWF are both members of the Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife, which is the coalition formed in support of RAWA and originated from the recommendation of the Blue-Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish & Wildlife Resources; CSF President Jeff Crane and NWF President and CEO Collin O’Mara are both members of the panel and currently serve as the legislative co-chairs for the Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?