Contact: Mark Lance, Southeastern States Coordinator
Why it Matters: Fish and Wildlife game species that are cherished by hunters and anglers are thriving thanks to the financial contributions of sportsmen and women. Unfortunately, the roughly $3 billion in annual conservation funding provided by sportsmen and women only goes so far. As a result, roughly 12,000 species of fish, wildlife, and plants are at risk and in desperate need of conservation funding before more costly and burdensome measures are necessary.
State fish and wildlife agencies have identified, through their State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs), more than 12,000 species with the greatest conservation need. State agencies receive funding to address the issues identified in their SWAPs through the State Wildlife Grant Program. This program annually provides $65 million but when split amongst all 50 states and U.S. territories, it is insufficient to adequately address wildlife conservation needs.
Sportsmen and women serve as the primary funders of conservation for both game and non-game species through the American System of Conservation Funding. The Georgia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus understands the hardships that many of the wildlife species in Georgia and across the country face with increasing urbanization and loss of viable habitat. RAWA would provide funds for state agencies to implement projects to support at-risk species and their associated habitats which would benefit other species, including game species.
While RAWA has not yet been reintroduced in this Congress, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) will continue our work to support RAWA. Coordination between federal and state governments in support of federal legislation that would greatly assist in the conservation of at-risk species is encouraging.
We appreciate the support of in-state conservation partners and the leadership of Georgia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Knight and Sen. Tyler Harper shepherding the resolution through the legislature.
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?